Here at Classic Smiles we proudly present the best team to take care of TMJ/TMD related disorders. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, while TMD stands for temporomandibular disease.
Also known as the jaw joint, the TMJ is a hinge-like structure that connects your skull to the lower jawbone. You can easily feel it by pressing your fingers right beside your ear lobes and repeatedly opening and shutting your mouth. The TMJ is the joint that allows your mouth to open and close for chewing and talking motions. It is not hard to disrupt the balance of this complex system, formed by the perfect alignment of bones, muscles, ligaments, and discs.
Looking Out for TMD Symptoms
Since this is a rather frail and complex system, the true cause of one's TMD is not easy to diagnose. Often, the joint itself is uncompromised, and there is a wide range of symptoms that may be overlooked by untrained eyes. Symptoms can reach not only jaw, mouth and face areas but also spread to the ears, neck, and shoulders.
TMJ is near the ear, so dizziness, pain, or an uncomfortable tinnitus (ear-ringing) can emerge. Shoulders and neck aches are not rare, either. The pain may spread all over the face, along with swelling, and a “tired” look caused by the excessive tension of the facial muscles.
The most common symptoms are jaw pains. If it hurts when you wake up, chew, yawn or bite, please look for our office as soon as possible. Stuck or locked jaws, either open or closed, are also possible signs of TMD. Be aware of noises: while some clicking is normal, excessive popping, grinding or cracking usually means trouble. Thankfully, most TMD scenarios are temporary and can be treated without surgery, which is a last resort. Should the problems linger, professional care from our team is required to prevent further damage.
How to Diagnose TMD
For an accurate diagnosis, look for our office and schedule an examination. We will look for signs of bite problems and clenching or grinding habits on your teeth, observe if your jaw movement is appropriate and feel the muscles around your jaw, necks, and shoulders for tenderness signs. With the aid of a stethoscope, we'll listen closely for unusual cracking or snapping. An x-ray or a panoramic x-ray may help to visualize the area. More detailed exams like MRI or computed tomography may be involved in the worst-case scenarios if other exams cannot determine the causes of your TMD.
Other health problems such as arthritis, toothache, earache, sinus infections, and neurological problems can also be the source of many TMJ-related symptoms, so if you have had one or more of these problems, please inform us right away. If you are feeling any of the symptoms we described here, the first thing you should do is avoid crunchy and hard foods. Cut your food into tiny bits and chew with the back teeth. Reducing the stress is always good for you, and it may help relieve symptoms.
If one or more symptoms listed here are bothering you, reach us immediately. Early diagnosis can prevent much pain, saving you time and money. Contact our office at Classic Smiles at (407) 378-0139 right now and let our professionals take good care of you.