The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the area where the lower jawbone and the skull connect, just like all other joints in our body, there is a disc which acts as a bearing to enable the joint to move freely. That disc is surrounded by a sac and filled with a fluid that nourishes the condyle of the mandible (lower jaw pivot point) and the skull. This makes sure that bone does not rub against bone, usually a painful problem. Misalignment of this joint can cause persistent pain in the joint(s) or to other areas of the head and face.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is the condition where the components of the joint, usually the disc as we mentioned before, are out of alignment. The cushioning disc that supports the bones is pulled out of place, allowing the condyle, top of the lower jaw, to rub against ligaments or even in direct contact, in long standing cases, with the temporal bone. Treating TMD in a prompt manner allows you to protect yourself from the side effects of this potentially painful situation.
Relief of Pain
The discomfort from TMD is usually the result the muscles that move the jaw not working in coordination with each other. Think of the muscles that move your fingers to open or close fighting one another. Additionally, these muscles, may I use the proper names, masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, lateral pterygoid; do not work in harmony and cause the disc to become displaced. This will cause a click, grinding sound, or both; and is an indication that things are not working well. Not all clicks and noises are bad, but it is an indication something is not quite right.
Certain treatments which relieve the symptoms of jaw misalignment are able to help you overcome this pain and discomfort. Mild medications, physical therapy, and bite plane therapy can all cause the muscles around the joint to relax and realign in a more positive manner. Visiting our dental practice in Hellertown, PA will help you reduce the discomfort you experience for a better quality of life.
But it all starts with an ACCURATE diagnosis. There are many variations to TMD and the treatment MUST be related to the diagnosis. Just like in medicine, the treatment must be customized for each patient to treat their specific needs. Once the pain is relieved, then we figure out how the problem got started and what can be done to correct the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Contact Us for TMD Treatments
Dr. S. Clarke Woodruff provides temporomandibular joint disorder treatments in Hellertown, Bethlehem, Allentown, and the surrounding communities. With hundreds of hours of training in the nature of TMJ, we can diagnose and treat your condition with non-surgical care. To overcome the discomfort and limitations of your TMD case, call our practice and schedule an orofacial consultation with Dr. Woodruff today!