TMJ / TMD

Does your jaw hurt? Do you wake up every morning with a headache? Do you have persistent toothaches that are not related to decay, or chronic neck pain? Friends may have suggested that you could have TMJ.

Actually, what you might have is TMD, not TMJ. What is the difference? TMJ is your temporomandibular joint. If you have problems with the temporomandibular joint, then you may have TMD – temporomandibular joint disorder.

For purposes of our discussion, we are going to lump it all under TMD. Whatever you want to call it, it is painful.

Who Gets TMD?

Anyone can get TMD, however, people who are under stress, or are in need of orthodontic treatment are more likely to get it.

The Cause

There are many causes of TMD. It could be due to arthritis in the temporomandibular joint. Sometimes, a head or neck injury can lead to TMD. Another cause is a misalignment of the teeth that is affecting the bite. Having missing teeth, or a missing crown can also cause TMD. One of the most common causes, though, is teeth grinding or clenching.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of TMD are so numerous that it might be easier to make a list of things that might not mean TMD. However, in addition to the symptoms already mentioned, TMD can manifest as earaches, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), pain in the shoulders, locking jaws, or a popping, grating or clicking sound when you are chewing.

As you might suspect from this range of symptoms, it is not always easy to diagnose TMD. These symptoms can also go hand-in-hand with a host of other medical issues, and that is why you need to get a proper diagnosis.

Treatment

When you visit Dr. Jack Fong because of suspected TMD, he will do an examination to determine where the pain and tenderness are happening. He will also take a look at the structure of your jaw and face, and might order an MRI or x-rays. The course of treatment will depend on the origin of the problem. As an example, if the cause is night-time grinding, then a mouth guard that will stop your teeth from meeting while you sleep might be the right course of action. On occasion, a restorative dental treatment might be necessary to correct a bite such as dental crowns or a dental implant. Another treatment might include orthodontics. Very rarely, surgery will be warranted. If it is, then Dr. Fong will refer you to a specialist.

Contact Us

If you have unexplainable jaw pain or other pain in your upper regions, you may have TMD. Dr. Jack Fong can do a TMD assessment and recommend treatment.Call Dr. Fong at 806-353-8184, or use the form on our contact page to arrange a consultation. We will be happy to see you at 3131 Bell, Suite 207, Amarillo, TX 79106, and will work with you to find and correct the cause of your discomfort.