By James L. Pyle, DDS
August 30, 2019
Category: Dental
Tags: TMJ   TMD  

Have you been noticing a loud clicking noise coming from your jaw? If so, this is a symptom of temporomandibular disorder, a condition better known as TMD. Painful and persistent, this jaw joint problem plagues up to 12 percent of Americans, according to Dental Guide USA. Fortunately, Dr. James Pyle, your dentist in Durham, NC, can help you feel better!

Is it TMJ or TMD?

People may have both, but everyone has at least one. Are you puzzled? Actually, TMJ stands for the temporomandubular joints at the angle of the jaw on both sides of the head. They operate the lower jaw and are composed of muscle, the temporal bone and a disc made of flexible cartilage.

The temporomandibular joint falls prey to a degenerative condition called TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. More common in women under the age of 40, TMD puzzles its sufferers with its elusive, recurrent symptoms. Fortunately, your Durham dentist can definitively diagnose this issue and help you control its symptoms. After a complete oral exam and X-ray screening, along with a review of your symptoms, Dr. Pyle will formulate a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the cheeks and temples
  • Odd popping or clicking noises when chewing
  • Earaches, headaches, and shoulder/neck pain
  • Excessive enamel wear due to teeth clenching or grinding
  • Tinnitus, a constant buzzing or ringing sound in both ears
  • Dizziness

Additionally, the jaw may dislocate, preventing the opening or closing of the mouth. This problem requires immediate attention at a hospital ER or a primary care physician's office.

Treating TMD

Whatever the source of your TMD (age, hormones, stress, or family history), we encourage conservative methods to manage symptoms—surgery or orthodontic treatment come as last resorts.

Your care plan may include:

  • Muscle relaxant medications
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Stretching exercises
  • Over the counter analgesics, such as ibuprofen
  • Soft diet
  • Ice to the sore areas of the jaw and face
  • Massage therapy
  • Bite appliance therapy

Dr. Pyle may also recommend that you wear a custom-made bite guard made of high-quality acrylic. This appliance helps cushion and correct the tremendous force that your jaw and teeth exert when you bite, chew, clench, or grind your teeth.

Get help for TMD

Dr. James Pyle can provide it. Call his Durham, NC, office team today to arrange your consultation: (919) 286-9667.