TMD - What is it and what can you do about it?

Are you experiencing pain in your face, jaw or neck? Does your jaw pop or click when you naturally open and close it? Have you had an increase in migraine headaches? If you said “yes” to these questions, we encourage you to contact Dr. Powers at Smile Power Orthodontics in Walnut Creek to find out if you have TMD. 

What is TMD?

TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction and its somewhat common symptoms may make it difficult to diagnose. However, if left untreated, the condition can worsen and cause long-lasting health problems. The TMJ Association reports it affects about 12 percent of the population at any given time. The condition – which is sometimes called TMJ (the name of the joint) is a comprehensive term to identify jaw pain and dysfunction related to a failure in the jaw structure. The TMJ connects your lower jaw to the temporal ball in your skull, which supports the part of the face known as the temple and protects your ear. It works like a hinge, opening and closing your mouth and allows you to eat, drink, talk, and yawn. If this joint is damaged or becomes misaligned, it can cause a host of disorders, called TMDs. The jaw’s muscles and joints have a lot of complicated nerve endings and that means more risk factors when something goes wrong. 

How Do You Treat TMJ?

At Smile Power Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves high-quality orthodontic health. While having a straight, beautiful smile with braces or Invisalign is sometimes a big part of that, it's not the only ingredient to great overall oral well-being - the jaws are also a major part of orthodontics. When one of our Walnut Creek patients thinks they may have TMJ, your orthodontist will conduct a thorough examination of your mouth, jaw and joint tissue looking for swelling and deterioration as well as malocclusion. If Dr. Powers diagnoses you with TMJ, there are treatments that can help:
  • A Night Guard - A plastic mouthpiece can be worn at night over your teeth so that your upper and lower teeth don’t touch. This can keep you from grinding or clenching your teeth when you sleep.
  • Bite Correction - You can undergo orthodontic treatment if you have a bite problem that may be the cause of your TMD.
  • Medication - If you have a high amount of pain and swelling, Dr. Powers can prescribe medication to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Home Relief - Oftentimes cool compresses or over-the-counter painkillers can relieve the pain of TMD.
  • Jaw Surgery - In extreme cases, Dr. Powers may recommend jaw surgery.

Contact Your Walnut Creek Orthodontist For An Exam

Dr. Powers and her friendly staff are here to help all Walnut Creek area residents maintain the best oral health possible. If you have any questions about TMD or any other orthodontic problem, don’t hesitate to contact our office at (925) 937-1333. We are happy to answer any of your questions and make an appointment to determine the cause of any discomfort you may have. Contact us today!