It can be helpful to know the risk factors for TMD so that you can be proactive about working with an oral surgeon to either prevent the condition from developing or get treatment as soon as possible. Treatment may be non-invasive, such as oral appliance therapy, or require jaw surgery.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders: An Overview
The jaw is one of the most complex joints in your body, consisting of the maxilla (upper jaw), mandible (lower jaw), along with the discs, tendons, nerves, cartilage and muscles that facilitate the jaw’s movement in multiple planes. If something goes wrong with one of those components, TMD can result.
TMD is associated with jaw discomfort, but other symptoms include:
- Clicking or popping noises when the jaw moves
- Locking of the jaw
- Facial pain, Neck pain or ear pain
- Difficulty chewing
If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMD, you should consult with an oral surgeon, who can diagnose and treat the specific problem underlying your condition.
Risk Factors For TMD
Certain people may be at greater risk for developing TMD. They include those who have:
- Certain types of arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis) that affect the cartilage in the jaw joint
- Chronic teeth grinding or clenching
- History of injury to the jaw
- Connective tissue disorders
If you fall into one of those categories, you may want to schedule an evaluation with an oral surgeon even if you’re not currently experiencing any TMD symptoms. You can work with this specialist to develop a plan to reduce your risk of developing TMD.
TMD: A Range of Treatment Options
Fortunately, patients don’t have to suffer from TMD pain and other associated symptoms. Effective treatment options are available. Some patients may even respond to more conservative interventions, such as massage, physical therapy, relaxation techniques or oral appliance therapy.
For some jaw issues that cause TMD, however, jaw surgery may be necessary. For example, if one of the discs has been damaged or if a misaligned jaw can’t be addressed through orthodontic treatment, surgery may be recommended for you.
Your surgeon can advise you on which treatment option will be most effective in relieving your TMD symptoms after evaluating your case. Call Central Oklahoma Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates today to schedule your consultation.