TMD stands for temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders or disease. The TMJ is what connects the jawbone to each side of the face. We each have two TMJs. You can easily palpate your TMJs by placing one finger in front of each ear and opening then closing your mouth.
At Dental Arts of Plymouth in Plymouth, NH, we’ve noticed that TMD is becoming more common. Fortunately, we’re well prepared and have what it takes to deal with it. We know how difficult it can be to live with TMD and the limitations it creates in everyday activities.
The first thing we do when we see a patient at Dental Arts of Plymouth is to listen to them. We then start asking the questions that help us diagnose the problem. After the interview, we move on to examining the TMJs and the mouth.
A dental x-ray might be needed to assess the condition of the bones forming the TMJ. We might also require an MRI. MRIs aren’t routinely used in dentistry, but with TMD, they help us see the condition of the disc present in the joint.
We have several modalities for treating TMD. Some treatments are aimed at alleviating symptoms, while others are useful at eliminating the cause if one is present. We start by prescribing mild painkillers and muscle relaxants. These are effective in making patients more comfortable. They’re also great at getting rid of muscle spasms, which are sometimes present. More invasive treatments can be considered if no adequate response is achieved. Patients with a locked jaw can find comfort in steroid injections. When steroids are injected into the joint, they’re great at reducing inflammation.
Unfortunately, sometimes patients that need TMD treatment in Plymouth, NH have joint destruction. One of the ways we can treat joint destruction is through surgery. During surgery, we’ll remove debris and dead tissue. We might also be able to repair the disc if the MRI shows damage. Surgery can be done traditionally or using arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is minimally invasive and is associated with shorter recoveries. It’s our preferred method.
To schedule your appointment, give us a call or fill out our online book appointment form!