Dental - Services

Occlusion and Temporomandibular Disorders

Occlusion and Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, for temporomandibular joint.
The cause of TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck – such as from a heavy blow or whiplash - can cause TMD. Other possible causes include:

  1. Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
  2. Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
  3. Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  4. Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth

Treatment for TMD:
Specific treatment for TMD will be determined by your physician or dentist based on:

  1. your age, overall health, and medical history
  2. extent of the disease
  3. your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  4. expectations for the course of the disease
  5. your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  1. resting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  2. medication and/or pain relievers
  3. relaxation techniques and stress management
  4. behavior modification (to reduce or eliminate the clenching of the teeth)
  5. physical therapy
  6. an orthopaedic appliance or mouthguard worn in the mouth – to reduce bruxism
  7. posture training
  8. diet modification (to rest the jaw muscles)
  9. ice and hot packs

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