TMD at Le Mars Dental Center
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are a family of problems related to your jaw joint and chewing muscles. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for the joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull.
The primary cause of TMJ disorder is trouble with the jaw muscles or the joint. Injuries to the jaw, neck and head can lead to TMJ disorder. Common causes of TMJ disorder include whiplash, clenching or grinding of teeth, arthritis pain and stress that might cause clenching and tightening of facial muscles or the jaw.
If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, this could mean the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. Ranging from mild discomfort to serious pain, TMD can lead to more serious conditions so proper detection and treatment are important. Some additional symptoms and causes include:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Waking up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaw
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Pain or increased pain when you clench your teeth
- Clicking, popping, grating, catching or locking of the jaw when you open your mouth
- Pain when opening your mouth, eating or yawning
- Previous injury to neck, head or jaws
- Arthritis in any other joints
Proper diagnosis on the origin of TMD rather than treating symptoms alone is important to successful, long-term treatment results. After proper diagnosis, Dr. Rhea develops a customized treatment and rehabilitation plan for the unique needs of each individual patient.
Dr. Rhea has completed specialized training to treat TMJ disorder and offers several ways to help.
Nightguard or splint: It is one of the most recommended TMJ treatments by dentists. A plastic mouthpiece is fit over the lower and upper teeth so that they don’t touch each other. It minimizes the effect of grinding or clenching and helps in improving the bite.
Dental work: A dentist might replace missing teeth or use bridges or crowns to balance the biting surface of the teeth and correct any bite problems. Only in severe cases are dental surgeries suggested.
If you are experiencing TMD problems like headaches, jaw pain, difficulty chewing or a clicking sound when you open your mouth, call (712) 546-5183 or click to schedule an appointment at Le Mars Dental Center.