Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small but mighty hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. It’s the joint that allows you to open and close your mouth, swallow, and speak — actions that define your essential functions and are integral to communication and nourishment. However, for a significant number of people, this complex joint can become a source of chronic pain and discomfort. Complete Dental Care is committed to ensuring our patients receive comprehensive TMJ treatment and resources to address issues like TMJ disorders. 


To treat TMJ disorder, various therapies and approaches are available to you. Seeking help promptly is essential for regaining comfort and a high quality of life.

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What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders, also known as TMD (temporomandibular disorders), are conditions encompassing a range of symptoms affecting the temporomandibular joints, the muscles of mastication, or both. These symptoms can include jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw, and restricted jaw movement. The impact can be far-reaching, affecting sleep, concentration, and daily activities, making TMJ treatment a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being.


Understanding TMJ Disorders

The causes of TMJ disorders are not always clear-cut, and contributing factors can include trauma to the jaw, joint erosion, genetics, or even psychological stress leading to clenching and grinding. Symptoms of TMJ disorders can manifest as:


  • Chronic pain in the jaw joint area
  • Radiating pain in the face or neck
  • Popping, clicking, or grating sounds during jaw movement
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • A sudden change in how the teeth fit together


Understanding the symptoms and their impact on daily life and oral health is an essential first step in seeking treatment for TMJ issues. Left unaddressed, TMJ disorders can lead to complications like chronic headaches, ear pain, and even compromised nutrition if the ability to chew is affected.


Treatment Options

When it comes to treating TMJ, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The path to relief may start with simple lifestyle changes and home remedies or involve a combination of therapies and interventions from dental and medical professionals.


Non-invasive Approaches

  • Lifestyle changes: Stress management, a soft food diet, and avoiding extreme jaw movements (e.g., wide yawning) can all help reduce strain on the TMJ.
  • Orthodontic treatment: Correcting teeth alignment through clear aligners or other dental appliances can sometimes alleviate TMJ symptoms.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises and stretches for the jaw muscles can help improve the range of motion and reduce pain.


Dental Treatments

  • Night guards (occlusal splints): Worn during sleep, these custom-fit mouthguards can help prevent teeth grinding, a common culprit in TMJ-related pain.
  • Bite adjustments: In some cases, minor adjustments to the chewing surfaces of the teeth can alleviate undue pressure on the TMJ.
  • Restorative dentistry: Reconstructing the teeth can sometimes create a better bite and reduce TMJ strain.


Medical Interventions

  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or tricyclic antidepressants may be prescribed to manage TMJ pain.
  • Injections: For severe pain, corticosteroid or Botox injections into the joint can provide temporary relief.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, open-joint surgery may be considered when other treatments have failed.


Benefits of Seeking Treatment

The words ‘TMJ treatment’ often conjure images of complex surgeries or invasive procedures, but the reality is far more diverse. Seeking treatment for TMJ issues can result in several significant benefits:


  • Pain relief: Addressing the underlying causes of TMJ disorders can bring substantial relief from chronic jaw pain and associated discomfort.
  • Improved jaw function: Many treatment options aim to restore or maintain optimal jaw movement, helping you chew, speak, and yawn without difficulty or pain.
  • Enhanced quality of life: No longer dealing with the daily burden of TMJ symptoms can lead to a renewed sense of well-being and an improved ability to engage in regular activities.
  • Better oral health: Addressing TMJ disorders can help prevent dental wear and tear from bruxism (teeth grinding) and other complications that may arise from the initial condition.


TMJ Treatment in Kellogg, Idaho

If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorders, the path to relief begins with seeking professional help. Diagnosing the specific cause of your TMJ issues can yield the highest chance of a successful outcome. Early intervention is often the best course of action, leading to less invasive and more effective treatment options. 


We encourage you to contact us to request a consultation with Dr. T.J. Scarborough or Dr. Nick Sampalis and take the first step toward a pain-free and comfortable life with a healthy TMJ joint. We also provide general dentistry, restorative dentistry, and orthodontics in Spokane, Washington, and Kellogg, Idaho.

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