A TMD can be brought on by a multitude of factors, but the most common tends to be stress, injury to the joint, arthritis, and a misaligned bite.
The most common symptoms of TMD are:
When diagnosing a TMD, the first step is to take a look at your teeth and see if there are any signs of grinding. TMD can cause the jaw muscles to constantly make small adjustments, which forces the teeth to rub together. We’ll then test the mobility of your jaw and take a variety of scans and X-rays to look at the condition of the joint itself.
Once we have determined the root cause of your TMD, we can then prescribe treatment. This may be as simple as doing a few stretches to loosen up your jaw throughout the day or something more involved like the ones outlined below.
If your TMD is brought on by a misalignment of the bite, then the simple solution is to make sure the teeth come together properly. How can we do that? By slightly reshaping a few key teeth. This will enable them to come together in a way that allows the jaw joint to reach its natural resting position. This should relieve any TMD-associated pain as well as ease muscle tension. We can typically accomplish this just by removing a few millimeters of enamel, meaning this treatment won’t affect the appearance of the teeth.
An occlusal splint is a custom-made orthopedic mouthpiece we can prescribe a TMD-patient to wear to bed each night. It will gently shift the jaw into a more natural, relaxed position to help resolve any TMD-related pain. It can also help protect the teeth from unconscious grinding. Eventually, the jaw will become familiar with this newer, healthier position, and a patient should be able to go about their day symptom free.