Symptoms of TMD

It is our goal to keep your mouth healthy, your teeth fully functional, and your smile bright — and we are proud of all the services we offer to do exactly that. At the same time, we want you to understand all that modern dentistry in general has to offer you. To that end, we have assembled a first-rate dental library in which you can find a wealth of information on various dental topics, including:

Cosmetic and General Dentistry

Cosmetic & General Dentistry

From a thorough professional cleaning to a full smile makeover, there is an amazing array of services that cosmetic and general dentists offer to make sure your teeth stay healthy, function well and look great. If your smile is not all you want it to be, this is the place to start. Read more about Cosmetic & General Dentistry.

Emergency Dental Care

Emergency Dental Care

When you have a dental emergency — whether it's caused by a sudden accident or chronic disease — your teeth and/or the tissues of the mouth that surround them need to receive proper care right away. It's also important to be aware, before you're actually in the situation, of what you can do to ensure the best outcome. Read more about Emergency Dental Care.

Endodontics

Endodontics

This is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the inside of the tooth — specifically the root canals and sensitive, inner pulp (nerve) tissue. When this tissue becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal procedure may become necessary. But contrary to the popular myth, a root canal doesn't cause pain, it relives it. Read more about Endodontics.

Implant Dentistry

Implant Dentistry

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that naturally deteriorates when even one tooth is lost. Read more about Implant Dentistry.

Oral Health

Oral Health

Oral health is an essential component of general health and well-being. Good oral health means a mouth that's free of disease; a bite that functions well enough for you to eat without pain and get ample nutrition; and a smile that lets you express your happiest emotions with confidence. Read more about Oral Health.

Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

A major goal of modern dentistry is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. By following a conscientious program of oral hygiene at home, and coming to the dental office for routine cleanings and exams, you have the best chance of making this goal a reality. Read more about Oral Hygiene.

Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery

The word “surgery” often brings to mind a stay in the hospital, general anesthesia, and perhaps a lengthy recovery period. However, the experience of having oral surgery is usually very different from that. Some common oral surgery procedures include: tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and biopsies of suspicious oral lesions. Read more about Oral Surgery.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics

Adults and kids alike can benefit from the boost in self-confidence that comes from having a great-looking smile with beautifully aligned teeth. Orthodontic treatment can even improve chewing, speaking and oral hygiene in certain cases. And with today's virtually invisible orthodontic appliances, it's possible to keep your treatment a private matter… until your new smile is unveiled, of course! Read more about Orthodontics.

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry

It's never too early to get your child started on the path toward a lifetime of good oral health, and there are many services to do exactly that. Monitoring your child's dental growth and development, and preventing and intercepting dental diseases along the way, is the primary focus of pediatric dentistry. Read more about Pediatric Dentistry.

Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal Therapy

If you want to keep your teeth for life — a completely reasonable goal in this day and age — you need to make sure the tissues that surround them are also healthy. Should gum problems arise, you may need periodontal therapy to restore diseased tissues to health. Read more about Periodontal Therapy.

Technology

Technology

In the field of dentistry, new technology is constantly changing the way diseases are diagnosed, routine procedures are performed, and illnesses are prevented. Although they may seem unfamiliar at first, new and improved dental technologies offer plenty of real benefits for patients. Read more about Technology.

TMJ disorders have been called the "Great Impostors" due to the fact that many of the symptoms have overlapping characteristics, which often mimic other conditions. Because these symptoms masquerade so many other conditions, many people travel from medical doctor to medical specialist in search of a cure. Most patients never think to contact a dentist since the symptoms are primarily medical in nature.


TMJ symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches, congestion or ringing in the ears
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds when opening and closing the mouth
  • Limited jaw opening or locking
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Pain when chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Difficulty closing the teeth together
  • Tired jaws when chewing
  • Numbness in hands
  • Difficulty in swallowing


Signs that you may have a TMJ problem:

  1. Clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism) is a common sign of TMJ disorder. The clenching and grinding of the teeth put additional stress on already tired, overworked muscles and can result in pain being referred to the head, neck, face, shoulder or back.
  2. Headaches are one of the most common complaints of TMJ sufferers and these headaches are frequently so severe they can be confused with migraine headaches. TMJ headaches are most often felt in the temple area, behind the eyes and at the back of the head with pain radiating to the neck and shoulders. Migraine headaches are mainly on one side with the patient suffering from visual disturbances and being extremely sensitive to light. The treatment for migraine headaches is much different from headaches caused by dislocated joints.

    If you suspect a migraine headache, then a referral should be made to a neurologist. If the TMJ (jaw joint) is the problem, a referral should be made to a dentist or dental specialist with training in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. An excellent reference for dentists experienced in the treatment of patients with TM joint disorders would be to consult the website of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain.
  3. One of the most common signs of a TMJ problem is a jaw joint making noise such as clicking, popping or grating sounds. This clicking sound occurs when the condyle (top of the lower jaw) moves forward when the patient opens the mouth and the condyle slips on and off the dislocated disc. The grating sound, called crepitus, is the sound of bone rubbing on bone and occurs later on when the dislocated discs become completely deformed. The purpose of the disc is to act like a protective cushion between the two bones of the lower jaw (condyle) and the skull (glenoid fossa). When the protective disc is permanently dislocated or distorted, the two bones contact each other and this causes loud noises, which are referred to as crepitus.

    Another sign of TM joint dysfunction occurs when the jaw either locks open or closed. Our objective in the treatment of TMJ disorders is to try and correct the problem of the dislocated disc early when the jaw is clicking and not wait until the later stages when the grating sound is louder and the patient may experience an extremely painful situation if the jaw locks open or closed.
  4. If the patient suffers from ear pain, ringing or buzzing in the ears, fullness or a stuffy feeling without any ear infection, then this could be related to a structural problem within the TM joint. Other symptoms include a loss of hearing, dizziness and loss of balance. If the condyle is too far back and the disc dislocated forward, this can cause some of the muscles of mastication to go into spasm which can cause any of the symptoms as mentioned above. If your medical doctor or ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist can find no apparent reason for the ear problems, these patients should be referred to a dentist with training in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with these problems.
  5. Sleep disturbances are common in patients suffering from dislocated jaw joints. The brain frequently does not allow the patient to reach the deep stages of sleep and they are awakened many times during the night. The patient does not awaken feeling well rested and refreshed, but rather they often feel tired and listless with an obvious lack of energy to face the new day. Often, the reason the patient cannot sleep is that they are awakened due to the pain they are suffering from severe muscle contractions, muscle spasms and trigger points caused by the dislocated jaw joints or clenching and bruxing habits.
  6. Depression is another common sign of patients who suffer from TM joint dysfunction for an extended period of time. These patients suffer constantly from chronic pain with no obvious solution in sight. Depression is a problem for both the medical and dental profession to try and solve. If the pain is originating from a tumor (very rare), an infection, systemic disease, nutritional deficiency, allergies or traumatic injuries, then the medical profession should be consulted. However, if the problem is a dislocated jaw or clenching or grinding habits causing TM joint pain, a properly trained member of the dental profession should be involved in the diagnosis and treatment.


If you have any of the above symptoms, you could possibly have a problem with your jaw (TMJ).