TMD (temporomandibular disorder)

TMD (temporomandibular disorder)

TMD or temporomandibular disorder is a disease of your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) or jaw joints. TMD can manifest as tight muscles, clicking, popping, difficulty opening or closing your mouth or pain in the area. Pain can be due to grinding and clenching of the teeth, malocclusion (bite), trauma to the joints, or anatomic variants. 

What are the symptoms of TMD?
  • Pain in the cheeks
  • Difficulty opening and closing
  • Locked jaw (open lock, closed lock)
  • Tightness in the cheeks
  • Headache
  • Clicking, popping, Grinding noise in the jaw joint
How do you diagnose TMD?
A radiographic and clinical examination helps determine the source of pain.

What are the causes of TMD?
TMD is a complex disorder that could be a combination of multiple fractures. The causes can include arthritis, trauma, and anatomic variants of the joint cavity. Muscular pain or myofacial pain is the most common type of pain and this could be due to habits such as clenching and grinding or to compensate for the discomfort in the joint due to other causes.

Myofacial pain disorder
Myofacial pain is the most common problem is clenching or teeth grinding which causes enlargement of the muscles around the jaw. Enlarged muscles along with regular clenching and grinding can overload your joint which can cause pain and tenderness in the musculature.

Internal derangement: The anatomy is the joint can be affected. A cushion between the jaw joint called the disc be inflamed and torn due to excessive load. 

Medical Conditions
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can affect the joint. Medical management to control the progression and monitoring the changes is part of managing systemic conditions that affect the jaw joint.
Trauma 

Trauma to the jaw joint with or without fractures can affect the growth of the jaw joint. Monitoring the changes in growing patients is critical because the facial bones can be affected.

What are the treatment options?
The diagnosis of the cause of your pain is critical. Myofacial pain and internal derangement is treated differently. Conservative measures are attempted first. These include soft diet, night guard, anti-inflammatory medication and warm compress around the jaw joint. Additional images such as an MRI can be necessary. Botox, viewing the joint with a camera (arthroscopy), flushing the joint out (arthrocentesis), joint replacement, orthognathic (jaw) surgery to stabilize the bite are treatment modalities to improve joint health.

Dr. Song and Dr. Um are experts in TMJ diagnosis and treatment. Please call our office for an evaluation.  
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