Does your jaw make odd popping noises, or does it feel stiff and painful? You may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from TMD, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction. It affects the muscles, bone and disc-like condyles at each side of your head, affecting how, and how comfortably, your lower jaw moves. Learn more about TMD from our La Grange, IL dentists, Dr. Carolyn Bronke and Dr. Josephine Puleo, and how this confusing problem may be treated.
What TMD involves
Basically, it's a problem of comfortable movement and function of the jaw joint in four directions: up, down, forward and backward. The ligaments and muscles associated with the temporomandibular joint stiffen and malfunction, causing a puzzling array of symptoms such as:
- Ear pain
- Migraine headaches
- Vertigo, or dizziness
- Inability to open or close the mouth
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Face, neck, shoulder and back pain
- Odd noises emanating from the jaw and mouth
- Jaw dislocation (a medical emergency)
- A change in dental bite (always see your dentist about bite issues, says the National Institute of Dental And Craniofacial Research)
Unfortunately, TMD, which affects more women than men and more middle-aged people than children or seniors, may be diagnosed as psychosomatic by many primary care physicians. However, your dentists empathize with TMD sufferers and use their diagnostic skills, and digital X-rays as needed to pinpoint exactly what is happening and how they can help.
Treating TMD in La Grange
The good news is you can manage TMD, and while the condition is all in your head, it definitely is not psychosomatic. Individualized treatments Dr. Bronke and Dr. Puleo offer include:
- Stretching exercises
- Muscle relaxant medications
- A soft diet to reduce pressure on the teeth and to make chewing easier
- Orthodontic correction
- Dental crowns to even bite problems
- Stress reduction (stress often causes habitual clenching and grinding issues, or bruxism)
Extreme cases of TMD may require surgery. However, customized bite guards, or splints, which position the jaw correctly and cushion the teeth, often prove the best therapy for TMD.
Find out more
Contact Dr. Bronke and Dr. Puleo in La Grange, IL today for a personal consultation on your jaw symptoms. You can find relief! Call (708) 354-1335.