TMJ Treatment Houston TX
If you have read the acronyms TMJ and TMD somewhere at a clinic and were confused about their implications, our Houston dental experts at Frank Dunlap, DDS will tell you that they basically refer to the same thing - a jaw disorder. The disorder is distinguished by chronic pain in head areas that becomes alarmingly unbearable.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connecting structure between the jawbone and skull, the two anatomical factors responsible for controlling movement of the mouth. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can cause muscle and joint pain in the jaw and surrounding areas.
TMJ vs. TMD
The TMJ is an important bone structure that joins your jaw to the skull bone and protects the ear. The joint acts like a hinge located at the side of your face that helps in opening and closing the mouth. Any kind of damage or misalignment of the TMJ can cause a range of disorders, typically known as TMDs.
When we talk about damage to the facial nerves affecting jaw movement, we are referring to TMD. A jaw can easily become misaligned due to trauma or crooked teeth, making everyday tasks like eating or yawning difficult to perform. The joint disorder can cause dental pain as well as pain in the face and surrounding muscles and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Many dental experts classify TMD in three ways. One is myofascial pain, the most common form of the joint disorder. It is a resultant muscle pain that hinders the muscle tissues from controlling movement of the shoulder, neck, and jaw. Another classification, known as displaced disk, is an internal instability of the joints that protect the cartilage between the skull and jawbone, or the rupturing of the structure that cushions and rounds the end of the jawbone where it meets the temporal skull bone. Lastly, TMD can be a result of degenerative joint disease, which involves rheumatoid or osteoarthritis of the jawbone.
Causes of TMD
Not all causes of TMD are clear, but the most common ones include strain on the jaw muscle group that makes chewing, swallowing, and even talking cumbersome. This strain might be due to constant grinding or clenching of the teeth, also called bruxism. In some cases, irritable bowel syndrome may worsen the TMD, and according to a study by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some people have genetic susceptibility to developing TMD.
Schedule TMJ Treatment
Our Houston dental professionals can provide you with a myriad of solutions for TMD. A person with TMD will first be recommended a night guard - an oral utensil that keeps the teeth from clenching and keeps them in proper positions. In case you have bite problems, we can provide you with dental work that can improve your bite function while recommending medications or other treatment for swelling and pain.
Feel free to contact us by calling our number (346) 576-4411 for a quick consultation. You can also visit our office Frank Dunlap, DDS and meet with our doctors to resolve any further questions you may have on temporomandibular disorders.