Are you suffering from jaw pain?
This is probably why you’re exploring TMJ and TMD.
To answer your question, TMD is an abbreviation of temporomandibular joint disorder, whereas TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint.
The only difference between these three-letter contractions is that one refers to a joint whereas the other refers to a disorder caused by the misalignment or inflammation of said joint.
What’s So Special About TMJs?
TMJs or temporomandibular joints act as the hinges on the sides of our jaw, which connects it to our cheek bones. These joints are unique because of their sliding and hinging mobility, which allows our jaw to swing open, move backward or forward, or even shift right and left.
So what’s so special about them? Well, as any TMJ specialist will tell you, the holistic range of motion in TMJs is crucial for speech and eating.
Since your TMJs are connected to your jaw, they mostly depend on your teeth and each other to function properly. Since they rely on so many factors, it should come as a surprise that disorders in TMJs (also known as TMDs) are very common.
What Is TMD?
TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder is caused due to the misalignment or inflammation of our TMJs. However, this abbreviation is used to describe a broad range of conditions and symptoms caused by the same problem – the joint connecting your cheekbone to your jaw.
The following are some common symptoms of TMD:
- Tenderness or pain in your:
- Shoulder and neck
- Jaw clicking when you open your mouth
- Teeth grinding
- Locked jaw
- Having trouble chewing
- Swelling on both sides of the face
- Discomfort while opening your mouth
If you feel any of the above symptoms, you need to consult a TMJ pain specialist to curb the pain.
What Causes TMD?
TMD is caused due to many reasons, which commonly includes:
- Bruxism: jaw clenching teeth grinding
- Displacement of discs inside the TMJ
The Relationship Between TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
If you frequently clench or grind your teeth, you probably have Bruxism. Though a mild form of this condition may not need urgent treatment, severe bruxism could have a negative impact on an otherwise healthy jaw and set of teeth.
Why are we discussing Bruxism here? As it turns out, temporomandibular joint disorder is often related to Bruxism.
Here’s How It Works:
Over time, harsh symptoms of bruxism may change the way you bite. Also, excessive grinding tends to slowly push a healthy set of teeth off their original position. Speaking of healthy teeth, bruxism also has the potential to damage your teeth or dental restorations, which again results in a misaligned bite.
If you notice that your upper teeth don’t close properly over your lower teeth, the muscles around your jaw might cause your temporomandibular joints to shift out of alignment, forcing your teeth to grind together. Simply put, misalignment of your jaw could result in TMJ disorder.
Manage Bruxism to Prevent TMD
If you’re suffering from Bruxism symptoms, it is crucial that you treat or manage your condition, so you can prevent TMD from occurring. The following are some effective strategies of avoiding clenching and grinding your teeth:
1. Wear a Bite Splint
A TMJ dentist might recommend that you wear bite splints to alleviate the pain and damage caused by bruxism. Wearing a splint should prevent unnecessary movement of your jaw and teeth.
2. Sleep Wearing a Night Gaurd
If you’re accustomed to grinding your teeth in your sleep, then a TMJ sleep dentist may recommend that you wear a customer mouth guard before dozing off. Doing so will protect you from worsening your symptoms.
3. Make a Conscious Effort to Relax Your Mouth
An experienced TMJ specialist might discuss effective daily exercises that may help you consciously keep you from clenching or grinding your teeth and relaxing your teeth throughout the day.
4. Reduce Your Stress
If your bruxism is being caused by stress or anxiety, taking the necessary steps to manage these emotions may just improve your overall condition. Some common, yet beneficial, stress management techniques include meditation and deep breathing.
That said, one of the most important steps of managing bruxism and preventing TMJ from developing is to undergo a comprehensive dental examination.
Now that you’ve learned so much about TMJ, TMD and what is causing your painful symptoms, it’s time to put your suffering to an end. Granted, people who frequently clench or grind their teeth as a reflex action or in times of stress, don’t necessarily have TMD. However, there are some cases where Bruxism could slowly lead to TMD and intensify their existing condition.
Consult a ‘Pain-Free’ TMJ Specialist In Sydney
Are you suffering from TMJ jaw pain? If so, you might be facing trouble operating it smoothly. The only way you can curb your pain and discomfort is to get yourself checked by a TMD specialist.
During an initial consultation, a TMJ sleep dentist will assess your symptoms to diagnose and discuss suitable treatment options and when you expect to get cured. After the initial consultation and professional help, your TMJ jaw pain shouldn’t last very long.
Whether you’re looking for a general family dentist, cosmetic dentistry, implants, TMJ sleep specialist, and emergency treatment, visit our website to book an appointment or send us an email at info@painfreedentistsydney to find out more.
We hope you found everything you came looking for and that we introduced you to a method of alleviating your pain and managing your symptoms.