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TMJ/TMD


Woman holding jaw due to TMJ painProblems associated with joints at the top of the jaw, which are situated just in front of the ears, fall under the umbrella term TMD. TMD, which is short for Temporomandibular Disorder, defines most of the issues that we have with our jaw joints, many of which can be resolved within our dentistry office. TMJ is a term wrongly used when talking about jaw problems, as TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, and not the disorder itself. While the causes of TMD can be very different, Summit Dental Care can help you find the correct treatment to soothe your TMD related pain.

What Is the Treatment For TMD?


Treatment for TMD varies for each individual case, as the causes of TMD can be different. One patient's TMD that has been caused by arthritis will not be treated in the same way as a patient who is suffering from TMD caused by anxiety. For this reason, the preliminary appointment will be used to do some visual and physical inspection of the jaw, while asking the patient several questions about their medical history and lifestyle choices. TMD can be caused by medications or other conditions that the patient has that the patient might not realize is affecting their jaw.

Lifestyle choices, such as drinking caffeine and the amount of stress the patient is experiencing from work or home life, can also affect the jaw. Often, TMD is not long-lasting and can be treated by reducing the amount of stress on the jaw. This can be by taking a break from sports or physical activities until symptoms decrease, and by changing the patient's diet to see if that makes a difference. By exchanging foods high in salt and saturated fats, for organic foods and low-sugar alternatives, the patient may find a positive change in their TMD. However, sometimes the TMD cannot be resolved through these treatment plans, and more invasive methods are necessary. This may involve surgery, if the issue is with the joint itself. Our team will only perform surgery when it is needed.

What Causes TMD?


TMD is usually due to the disk, which protects the skull and jaw from grinding against each other, shifting from its usual positioning. This means the jaw and skull move against each other, which can cause swelling, tenderness and pain while talking and eating. Complications such as disk slippage are often a result of a heavy blow or impact to the face. This could happen due to an accident or a sports game. While it may appear at first as just some bruising or swelling, pain after the initial wound could be due to TMD. Cartilage damage is another cause of TMD, as it also causes rubbing. Arthritis can eradicate the cartilage in the joint, as well as prolonged pressure, which can be caused by bruxism (teeth grinding).

Summit Dental Care has multiple treatments available to accommodate your TMD related issues. Our professionals will be able to diagnose what is causing the trouble. To book a consultation appointment now, call our office at 206-292-9980.
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