Bluegrass Oral Health Center | TMJ
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TMJ

TMJ or TMD stands for “Temporomandibular Dysfunction”.  It is a broad classification for a lot of different ailments of the face and jaws.  Having TMD is a lot like saying you have “Back problems.”  Pain could be from muscles, nerves, or joints. Symptoms may include any source of pain, tightness, or loss of function  in the head and neck.  Each patient is unique and a thorough diagnosis must be made in order to adequately treat the specific condition.  In some instances a special bite guard needs to be made in order to help align your jaws and reduce stress on your muscles.  In many cases simply diagnosing the condition and discussing contributing factors is enough to stop pain.  Other times we may make a recommendation to an ENT or a physical therapist. In extreme case it may require restoring your bite by replacing teeth.  It can be a long process that we are here to guide you through to gain relief.  We see it as a service to our patient and don’t want you to worry about being excessively charged for what is usually a simple solution.

Can my headaches be caused by TMD?

Yes.  Very frequently headaches near the temple area are a result of TMD pain.

I have a constant earache but my doctor said everything is fine, could it be TMD?

Yes.  Very often TMD pain can feel like an earache due to the location of the joint next to your ear.

I’ve tried a bite guard before but it didn’t work, why is yours different?

Most bite guards doctors make are just plastic that separate and protect your teeth.  This is effective only if you are worried about cracking your teeth.  They do not align your jaws, and often don’t relieve TMD pain.  This is a very big difference, and comes from a lack of education from the dentist.  Also many patient’s TMD pain occurs in the day time.  Sleeping with a night guard will not fix this pain.  Bite guards are useful but need to be used in the right circumstances.

I’ve been told I need surgery, what should I do?

Surgery is rarely indicated in TMD treatment.  If less invasive techniques are not successful we will recommend you for appropriate treatment.