Recent studies estimate that over 10 million people in the United States are afflicted with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD / TMJ). More surprising still, the majority of people who suffer from this common disorder don’t even realize they have it. The symptoms of TMD can be incredibly diverse, ranging from chronic tension headaches to pain or numbness in your arms and hands.
TMD occurs when the delicate ball-and-socket joints in your jaw are out of alignment. Even a very slight misalignment will affect the muscles, tendons, and nerves that are connected with these jaw joints. The painful symptoms that occur can include:
- Migraine-like headaches
- Teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Pain when chewing
- Facial pain
- Pressure behind, above, or below your eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
- Tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing in your ears)
Neuromuscular dentists are specially trained in the effective diagnosis and treatment of TMD / TMJ. Depending on the condition of your bite and the severity of your jaw’s misalignment, treatment for TMD can take on a variety of forms. The most common treatment involves an orthotic: a plastic appliance, much like a retainer, that allows your jaw to close into its ideal position. After it is worn regularly for a few months, this device can stabilize your bite and ensure your jaw muscles are relaxed and symptom-free.
If you believe you may be suffering from the effects of TMD and would like more information about neuromuscular dentistry, please contact us today to schedule your consultation with experienced neuromuscular dentist Dr. Wilcox. Desert Smiles serves patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale, Arizona.