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Posts for tag: TMD

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
October 23, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMD  

tmdAs a cosmetic dentist in Pittsburgh, Dr. John Sartorio is available to help provide his patients with optimal care. If you are suffering from jaw pain, it is important to visit Dr. Sartorio for proper diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). At our cosmetic dentistry office in Pittsburgh, Dr. Sartorio seeks to establish a harmonious relationship of the teeth, muscles and jaw joints, helping to relieve problems that occur with misaligned bites such as headaches, migraines, neck pain, jaw pain, and chipped or fractured teeth.

What is TMD?

TMD stands for temporomandibular dysfunction, which is a cycle of pain, muscle spasms, and jaw joint problems that results when the teeth, chewing muscles, and jaw joints don’t work together harmoniously. This refers to the problems with muscles and joints that join the lower jaw to the base of the skull. There are an abundance of TMD symptoms that do not affect all people equally, which makes accurate and consistent diagnosis of the condition very difficult and poorly understood by the dental community, as well as physicians and other health care modalities.
Some symptoms of TMD include:
  • Migraines
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Pain in the face
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (locked jaw)
  • Headaches (tension types)
  • Multiple bites that feel uncomfortable or, “off,” and continually changing
  • Clenching/bruxism
  • Tender, sensitive teeth to cold
  • Deviation of the jaw to one side
  • The jaw locking open or closed
  • Ringing in the ears, ear pain, and ear congestion

A Problematic Bite Can Cause TMD

A problem bite often exists when teeth are missing, misaligned or worn down. These conditions can prevent the upper teeth from meshing correctly with the lower teeth. It also forces the jaw to shift position and causes the muscles to work harder than they should to bring the teeth together. Even when you are not chewing, your jaw muscles may not fully relax when your teeth come together to swallow thousands of times per day.
If your bite is out of alignment, the muscles and the joints become sore, tired and stiff. Over time, this constant muscle tension leads to muscle fatigue, spasm, and pain. The constant strain on the muscles can also pull the disc that cushions the joint out of position. If this does occur, the bones of the jaw will rub against each other and the nerves, which causes pain and damages the joint.

Diagnosis and Treatment

With the right tools, your dentist can properly diagnose and treat TMD, while also being able to track the progress and the changes a patient makes. The first step in treatment is to wear a custom crafted bite splint called an orthotic to relax the muscles. This helps to restore the balance to the joint and stabilize the bite. Once the pain is eliminated and the bite is stabilized—on a case-by-case basis—Dr. Sartorio can decide how to permanently correct the problem. Depending on the situation, your options might include orthodontics, replacement of missing teeth, wearing a long-term orthotic, neuromuscular denture or a partial, placement of crowns, veneers or overlays, or a full mouth reconstruction.
Talk to Dr. John Sartorio, our dentist in Pittsburgh, for more information on TMD and how she can help you find relief from your pain. Whether you are suffering from headaches or jaw pain, TMD can be treated with the help of your dentist.