The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) connect your lower jawbone to your skull and are a key part of your oral structure and function, especially since they assist in chewing and speaking. These jaw’s joints, muscles, and ligaments have a complex mechanism that makes them vulnerable to damage. Your doctor will conduct diagnostic protocols to accurately determine the underlying cause of your concerns and develop an effective TMJ Treatment Jasper plan to restore jaw function.
What is TMD?
The TMJs play a critical role in speaking and chewing. Any traumatic incident or underlying chronic illness can lead to TMJ dysfunction. TMD may cause acute or chronic symptoms. Most patients report inflammation and irritation in their TMJ.
What causes the temporomandibular joint disorder?
One of the main causes of TMD is an injury to the jaw joints. Damage to TMJ can happen due to the following reasons:
- Teeth grinding/clenching: Bruxism is a condition that causes patients to exert excess pressure on their jaw and might promote TMD.
- Bite problems: An incorrect bite can cause chewing complications, especially since this dental problem is associated with the jaw.
- Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket joint, thus causing pain when chewing or speaking making it difficult to move your jaw.
- Arthritis in the TMJ: This degenerative disease affects all joints, including the TMJthus limiting your speech.
- Acute trauma
What are common TMJ symptoms?
TMJ complications mainly affect patients older than 20. An overused TMJ develops with age, thus predisposing you to a wide range of TMD. Another risk factor for TMJ dysfunction is gender. These jaw issues are more common in women than men. The following are typical symptoms of TMJ:
- Jaw ache
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Problems opening your mouth wide
- Changed in bite
- Swelling on the affected side of your face
- Tooth pain.
How do doctors diagnose TMJ dysfunction?
Doctors recommend regular dental checkups to detect TMJ during its early stages and begin treatment to restore dental function. During your dental checkup, your doctor will conduct various tests to determine the range of motion when you close and open your mouth. Your doctor will also palpate your face, specifically the sides, to sense any swelling and recognize problematic areas.
The significance of imaging technology in TMD diagnosis
Imaging technology is critical in TMD diagnosis. Your doctor may implement radiographs during your checkup to ensure a detailed diagnosis. The following are the most common imaging tests that doctors perform during TMD diagnosis:
- Panoramic X-rays: Your doctor may implement this type of dental x-ray to get a broad overview of your mouth.
- CBCT scans. Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans create multiple pictures of your mouth before joining them to build a detailed 3-D image. This type of imaging technology is thorough, providing accurate results.
- MRI scans. Your doctor will recommend magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect complications affecting soft tissues in and around your jaw joints. MRI images can reveal inflammation and possible jaw locking.
Contact Advanced Dental Care of East Texas to talk to an oral maxillofacial surgeon about your TMJ dysfunction and receive appropriate treatment to restore jaw structure and function.