WHAT IS

TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER (TMD)

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD is the name given to describe the many symptoms resulting from conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Common signs of TMD include:

JAW PAIN OR TENDERNESS

EAR PAIN

DIFFICULTY OR PAIN WHEN CHEWING

FACIAL PAIN

HEADACHES

CLICKING OR POPPING IN THE JAW JOINT

While an estimated 10 million people in the US suffer from TMJ problems, many of these people go undiagnosed and untreated, living with extreme pain for years. When symptoms first start, they might be mild or come and go. Also, people might not associate their ear pain or headaches with TMD.

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HOW DID I GET TMD?

In many cases, it’s difficult to know what causes your TMJ disorder, however, these are some common causes:

  • Malocclusion: If your bite is misaligned or uncomfortable it can affect both the jaw muscles and joints.
  • Trauma: Can result from a direct blow to the face or jaw, or injury from a car accident.
  • 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 of teeth usually occurs during sleep.

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HOW DID I GET TMD?

In many cases, it’s difficult to know what causes your TMJ disorder, however, these are some common causes:

  • Malocclusion: If your bite is misaligned or uncomfortable it can affect both the jaw muscles and joints.
  • Trauma: Can result from a direct blow to the face or jaw, or injury from a car accident.
  • 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 of teeth usually occurs during sleep.

HOW WE DIAGNOSE TMD

Your first appointment will consist of a thorough exam of your jaws, neck and head. We will review prior health and dental history and ask you about your symptoms. At this appointment Dr. Barrett & Dr. Kushner will have more information as to what x-rays or tests to order. The findings will help to determine the treatment outcome.

DIAGNOSTICS TECHNOLOGY

  • Radiography: We will take several different types of x-rays; a panoramic, cephologram and possibly at CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography image) to take an image not only of your teeth but your sinus, entire jaw and other parts of your facial anatomy. The detailed results will help us better determine what solutions to recommend based on your particular needs.
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a type of imaging that 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.

We take a variety of images because TMD has so many causes, and it is vital that all causes for this disorder are carefully scrutinized. We take into consideration your teeth and bite, your facial and neck composition, your airway size, as well as your TMJ’s (jaw joints) to help us determine the best course of action to provide you relief from discomfort and pain.

DIAGNOSTICS TECHNOLOGY

  • Radiography: We will take several different types of x-rays; a panoramic, cephologram and possibly at CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography image) to take an image not only of your teeth but your sinus, entire jaw and other parts of your facial anatomy. The detailed results will help us better determine what solutions to recommend based on your particular needs.
  • MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a type of imaging that 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.

We take a variety of images because TMD has so many causes, and it is vital that all causes for this disorder are carefully scrutinized. We take into consideration your teeth and bite, your facial and neck composition, your airway size, as well as your TMJ’s (jaw joints) to help us determine the best course of action to provide you relief from discomfort and pain.

DID YOU KNOW? 90% OF PATIENTS SEEKING TMD TREATMENT ARE FEMALE?

AT HOME RELIEF METHODS

There are several methods you can incorporate at home to help manage TMD pain while waiting for your appointment. They include:

SOFT FOOD DIET

A soft food diet consists of foods that does not require your jaws to work hard. We recommend foods such as scrambled eggs, baked potatoes, soups, pastas, and canned fruits and vegetables. 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 sides of your cheeks ending at your jaw joints. Repeat this process as needed. It can take up to several applications before you feel the effects. Warm moist heat is very helpful before bedtime and after you rise in the morning.

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“I have suffered from TMD since I was diagnosed in my 20s during medical school (I’m now in my 60s) I have had major surgery on my jaw and jaw joints and seen multiple specialists over the years. I was referred to this practice by my general dentist. Dr. Kushner and her team have done more to help me with this problem than any other professional I have seen. She is thoughtful, caring, and compassionate, and her team echoes these same traits. When I first established care with this office, I was convinced I would never be comfortable or be able to eat normally again. The treatment plan and appliances I have been using have been nothing short of miraculous. Although I will never have a normal bite again, I have attained a level of comfort and function that I am very happy with and should serve me well for the rest of my life. I cannot recommend this office enough and offer a rating of 10 stars out of 5!! One bit of advice I would give to my fellow TMD sufferers; don’t let anyone tell you this is “all in your head”. This condition is very real and can be very debilitating. The only way TMD is “in your head” is in the fact that the TM joints attach to the base of your skull. Good luck to all of you!!”

Steven Floerchinger MD, FACS

10513 Silverdale Way NW

Suite 201, Silverdale, WA 98383

DIRECTIONS

360-979-1537

Fax: 360-779-7732