Do you know the difference between TMJ and TMD? TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joint, and its job is to connect your jaw to your skull. Sometimes, for various reasons, there can be pain and dysfunction in the joint – commonly referred to as TMD. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMD affects nearly 11 million Americans and appears to be more common in men than women.
Could I Have TMD?
There are a variety of signs and symptom that doctors have found to be commonly related to people struggling with TMD or TMJ syndrome. The very first sign is a marked pain in your jaw joint or the muscles you use when you are chewing food. You may also experience:
- Continuing pain in the jaw, neck, and facial area
- Stiffness in your jaw muscle
- Reduced movement in the jaw or locking
- Painful clicking or popping
- A difference in your bite or how your teeth come together
Sometimes when your bite is off this can make TMD symptoms worse, especially if you also grind your teeth.
What Can A Dentist Do to Get Rid of My TMD Pain?
If you have been managing your pain and possible TMD symptoms, it might be time that you made an appointment to speak with Dr. Ottesen. Did you know that she has advanced training and education in TMD treatment from the renowned Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, SPEAR Education, and KOIS training? She has helped patients like you live pain-free by using neuromuscular dentistry, a philosophy that aims to correct a misaligned jaw and create a more balanced bite. Using state-of-the-art technology in the comfort of our Niceville dental office, Dr. Ottesen can measure both your jaw muscle activity and movement to figure out what is causing your discomfort and pain. She can create something called an occlusal guard that will actually deprogram your muscles to stop causing you so much pain and also fix your bite. The biggest focus is to relax your jaw muscles so there is less tension and friction when you bite.
There are other treatments available too that can also make a big difference when it comes to ending TMD pain such as:
- Bite splint therapy
- Equilibration or reshaping your teeth to fix bite issues
- Replacing missing teeth
- Restoring damaged or deteriorating teeth
As with all dental treatments we provide at Ottesen Family Dentistry, we want to focus on not just your mouth but your body as a whole because we believe it is all connected. That is why it’s crucial that you speak with Dr. Ottesen if you or someone in your family continues to battle TMD or complain about TMJ pain.