TMJ - Temporo-mandibular Joint is the anatomical name given to the jaw joint.
TMD - Temporo-mandibular joint Disorder is the name given to describe many of the symptoms that result from a variety of conditions affecting the jaw joint. These issues include (but are not limited to) headaches, ear pain, facial paint and clicking or popping noises in the jaw joint area.
There are usually multiple causes of TMD:
How did I get TMD?
Malocclusion: If your bite is not right, or comfortable, it can affect both the jaw muscles and the joints. Malocclusion can aggravate TMD.
Trauma: This can result from a direct blow to the face or jaw, or over opening or closing as a result of auto accidents.
Mouth Breathing: This can occur during the day and while sleeping. People who breathe predominantly through their mouth tend to strain jaw ligaments.
Clenching: Also known as bruxism. Clenching and grinding usually occurs during sleep.
The abnormal forces and strain produced by tired, spastic muscles can refer pain into the neck, face or head.
Your first appointment will be a thorough exam of your jaws, neck and head. This will include reviewing prior health and dental history, an interview of your symptoms and a specialized exam of the jaws, neck and head. At this appointment Dr. Barrett & Dr. Kushner will have more information as to what x-rays or tests to obtain. The findings will help to determine the treatment outcome.
How do we diagnose TMJ
Radiography: Better known as an x-ray. The clinic will need to take a few different types of x-rays; a panoramic and a cephologram and possibly at CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography image). “But my dentist just took a panorex!” Although your dentist may have taken a dental panorex, this clinic incorporates a special wide-scan machine that will image not only your teeth but your sinus, entire jaw and other parts of your facial anatomy.
MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This type of imaging provides detailed and accurate images of soft tissue and is considered the best way to study the TMJ's. We will help you schedule this procedure at an imaging clinic.
WHY SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF X-RAYS AND IMAGES?
Because TMD has so many causes, it is vital that all causes for this disorder are carefully scrutinized. This means that the doctors must take into consideration your teeth and bite, your facial and neck composition, your airway size, as well as your TMJ's (jaw joints).
WHAT CAN I DO UNTIL MY APPOINTMENT?
There are several self-help activities you can incorporate to help manage TMD pain while waiting for your appointment:
Soft Food Diet: A soft food diet consists of foods that do not require your jaws to work. Scrambled eggs, baked potatoes, soups, pastas, and canned fruits and vegetables are some suggestions. It also helps to cut your food into small pieces and try not to take bites directly from your food such as an apple or a large sandwich. Avoid hard or chewy foods such as breads, pretzels and chips, hard candies, raw vegetables and fruits. Chewing gum is a definite no-no.
Warm Moist Heat: Place a small damp hand towel in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. Check for comfortable temperature. Your towel should be very warm but not hot enough to burn your skin. Wrap your warm damp towel under your chin and up to both side of your cheek ending at your jaw joints. You can repeat this process as needed. Sometimes is takes several applications before you feel the effects. Warm moist heat is very helpful before you retire to bed and after you rise in the morning.
TMJ quick treatments
Application of Warm Moist Heat
Moist heat applied to the area around the painful joint and muscles provides quick relief from pain. The following procedure is suggested:
1. Soak a hand towel and wring almost dry. Place in a bowl or other microwave safe dish.
2. Microwave the moist wet towel until very warm, almost hot. Remove towel. Be careful to check the temperature, don't burn yourself.
3. Twist towel until it is a manageable size. Place one end of the warm towel on one side of the jaw or temporal region, running it under the chin and up to the other side of the jaw/temporal region.
4. Place prepared towels on the painful area for 10-20 minutes, two to three times per day. Another procedure is to apply warm moist towels to the affected are several times within an hour.
Heat therapy works indirectly. Pain, especially muscle pain, is often caused by a relative shortage of oxygen in the tissues, which allows the buildup of metabolic waste products like lactic acid. Heat applied to the tissues tends to dilate the blood vessels passing through them. The dilatation increases the blood flow and hence carries more oxygen to the tissues. The oxygen debt is reduced and lactic acid is dispersed and the pain diminishes.
Soft Food Diet
Soft diet. You don't have to switch entirely to liquids and baby food. Avoid food like raw vegetables, nuts, hard rolls, and chewy meats such as steak. Also, avoid chewing gum, nail biting, singing or pressure on the TMJ's (telephone pressure and sleeping on the affected side).
The following lists are organized by food groups in an effort to simplify your menu planning. There is a cookbook on the market that will help you to more effectively incorporate the soft diet into your eating habits. The book is called the Non-Chew Cookbook by J. Randy Wilson..