TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, is a problem that can feel confusing. If you experience the symptoms of this condition, you may not know where to turn. Do you see your medical doctor for pain in the jaw, head, or neck? Do you see your dentist or should you come to Body Lounge Park Cities? If you want the conservative approach first, come to Body Lounge Park Cities and Dr. Le Cara can diagnose and make treatment recommendations.
What Is TMJ / TMD?
TMJ and TMD are two acronyms that are often used to describe the same condition. The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint. There is one joint on each side of the jaw, located just in front of the ear. The group of symptoms that occurs when one or both of these joints fail to function properly is referred to as TMD. Symptoms occur when the TMJ becomes inflamed. Inflammation could result from injury to the joint, from stress related to chewing, or from inconsistency across the oral structure (such as a bad bite).
What Are The Symptoms Of TMD?
The most common symptom is popping or clicking sounds and pain when you open and close your mouth. Additional symptoms of TMD include tension in the jaw or face, ringing in the ears, dizziness, neck pain & chronic headaches, including migraines.
What Causes TMD?
Research suggests a few potential causes of TMD, though this condition is not completely understood at this point. There is a possibility that multiple factors contribute to dysfunction and tightness in the muscular structure that supports the joints. These include:
Excessive gum chewing
Stress and anxiety
Trauma to the jaw
Malocclusion (a bad bite)
Existing musculoskeletal disorder or arthritis.
Can I Treat TMD On My Own?
There are instances of TMD that may be related to excessive stress on the jaw, such. Minor and temporary symptoms of this condition may be relieved with lifestyle modifications such as:
Applying ice to the cheek for a few minutes.
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
Developing strategies to manage stress, like meditation.
Eating soft foods for a short period of time.
Avoid chewing gum until symptoms improved.
Gentle massage to the jaw and neck muscles.
It is important to obtain professional care for symptoms of TMD if improvement is not achieved with lifestyle habits alone or if symptoms have occurred for more than a few weeks.
How Is TMD Diagnosed?
Step One: Consultation
Initial consultation for TMD diagnosis involves an in-depth conversation with Dr. Le Cara. This provides us with valuable information that help tie symptoms into a potential cause. Questions that may be asked during your consultation include:
Have you sustained an injury to the jaw or face?
Where does pain occur and what is the intensity of pain?
When does pain occur (triggers)?
Do symptoms affect one or both sides of the face?
Step Two: Examination
A neuromuscular examination is performed to help us understand the physical state of the jaw and the temporomandibular joints. We may listen as you open and close your mouth and may gently palpate the joints as you do this.
The range of motion of your jaw will be observed, and the muscles around the TMJs will be felt.
Step Three: Diagnostic Te
TMD Treatment May Include:
Massage (active release technique) to the chewing muscles and neck
Manipulation to the cervical and thoracic spine
Neuromodulator Injections (like Botox) to manage pain
How long will it take?
If you are going to respond to the care Dr. Le Cara provides, improvement should be noticed in just 3-5 visits. If improvement is not noticed, a referral to a TMD specialist (dentist) will be warranted for further evaluation and diagnostic testing like x-rays.
Call or schedule online for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Le Cara to see if Body Lounge Park Cities can help you move and feel better.