What is TMD/TMJ?
TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction), sometimes called TMJ Disease expresses itself with a wide variety of signs and symptoms. It has often been called “The Great Imposter.”
Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
Do you have any of the following signs or symptoms?
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of our dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of Dr. Tamura. The Myotronics K7 computer diagnostic system can be used by Dr. Tamura to test, diagnose and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
- Popping or Click in your Jaw Joints
- Jaws that lock open or closed
- Neck Pain
- Clenching or Grinding of your teeth
- Ringing in the Ears
- Full, Stuffy or Itchy Ears
- Limited Opening of Your Mouth
- Your Mouth Doesn’t Open Straight
- Shoulder Pain
- Back Pain
- Daytime Sleepiness or Fatigue
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may have TMJ, sometime called TMD or Temporo-Mandibular Disorder. The symptoms associated with this disorder are usually cause by the fact that your teeth don’t fit together evenly. We call this having a “Bad Bite”. When your bite is off, it can cause problems in your jaw joints (popping, clicking or locking), your ears (ringing, itching, stuffy or full), your muscles (headaches, migraines, neck pain, shoulder pain or back pain), or breathing disorders like Sleep Apnea that cause daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Because the symptoms are so varied, TMJ is often called “The Great Imposter” because its symptoms can mimic so many other disorders.
Reasons for treating TMJ
Scientific research shows that the physiologic breakdown of your jaw joints will increase over time if left untreated. Additionally, TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, breathing problems and ear problems like congested ears, ringing in the ears and vertigo or dizziness.
What are the common causes of TMJ?
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for Dr. Tamura to realign or adjust your teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment can stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain and the dizziness.
The grinding and clinching of your teeth is particularly common in patients with TMJ. The grinding will eventually wear down the structure of your teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jaw joints and loose teeth. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
TMJ could be a result of several different problems. A bad bite is the most common, but an auto accident or injury resulting from a traumatic blow to the jaw joint or lower jaw is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient’s bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
A better option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options and treatments.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Tamura in Marina Del Rey
No dental schools in the United States teach the diagnosis and treatment of TMD, so if a dentist wants to learn how to help patients who suffer from this incredibly debilitating disease, he or she must seek out Post Doctoral education, to learn not only how to diagnosis TMD, but also how to treat it.