Our orthodontists have been specializing in the evaluation and management of acute and chronic TMD pain for years. We believe conservative management should always be the first choice in TMD treatment, and we have developed a treatment method that is both conservative and successful.
Our orthodontists and highly-trained team of orthodontic specialists work hard to approach treatments on an individual basis, designing comprehensive, personalized plans. While many patients know that orthodontic treatment results in a great smile, many do not know other benefits, including relief from chronic jaw pain, or Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD or TMJ).
Causes & Symptoms of TMD
TMD or TMJ is one of the most common orthodontic problems. Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from TMD at some point in their lives. TMD is a disorder affecting the temporomandibular joint (the jaw joint), and it can cause a wide variety of symptoms ranging from a stiff jaw to debilitating jaw pain and headaches.
The jaw joint is the most complicated joint in the body, connecting the lower jaw to the skull. It is capable of movement across four axes of motion and rotation. TMD is most commonly caused by misaligned teeth, which force the jaws to sit improperly and create pressure and tension points in the jaws and mouth. These points can clamp down on nerves running through the face, causing a variety of symptoms including: recurring headaches and pain in the face, hearing loss, stiff neck or jaw, back, neck, or shoulder aches, vision problems, eye pain, clicks and pops when opening or closing the jaw, pain in the jaws when opening or closing, grinding teeth, or numb fingers and hands.
Diagnosis & Treatment of TMD
To detect a TMD problem or prevent a TMD problem from escalating, you’ll need to have a full evaluation. During the evaluation, one of our orthodontists will examine the tissues and bones around the “hinge” of your jaw, the fit of the top and bottom teeth, and any other issues concerning the mouth and face.
Mild cases of TMD are easily treated with over-the-counter medications, cold compresses, and/or night guards. In more severe cases, we may suggest treatment like orthognathic (jaw) surgery. However, most cases are treated without any jaw surgery procedures.
Things to Know about Jaw Surgery:
- Our Coastal Carolina Orthodontics team uses the latest in digital imaging technology to demonstrate the functional and aesthetic benefits a jaw procedure could have on your mouth and your facial profile.
- Computerized treatment planning beforehand minimizes your treatment times and recovery periods, while increasing the overall efficiency of your surgery.
- State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws are used to provide stability, strength, and predictability to your treatment.
- Modern innovations in orthodontic technology and procedures will reduce your post-surgical recovery time, allowing you to return to your normal routines soon after surgery.
If you’d like to learn more about TMD/TMJ or you feel you may be suffering from some of these symptoms, we’d be happy to speak with you. Please request a free consultation at our Jacksonville, Morehead City, or Havelock office.