Though prosthodontists are experts in smile design, crowns, veneers, dentures and dental implants, they offer more than cosmetic dentistry. In fact, frustrating and painful situations like Temporomandibular Dysfunction, known as TMJ or TMD, need a prosthodontist’s extra education and training.

If you experience jaw pain, you should learn about TMD and its symptoms. TMD is a disorder affecting the joints and/or muscles that connect to and control the movement of your lower jaw. Forms of this ailment range from jaw muscle pain to inflammatory joint conditions at one or both of the joints located just in front of the ears.

TMD can be caused by clenching or grinding teeth, misalignment of the jaw, a poor or worn bite, trauma to the face and neck, or strain and overuse of the jaw. Arthritis, mild infections, and other diseases can also play a role in temporomandibular joint disorders. Jaw soreness, headaches, swelling, popping or clicking when you open or close your mouth, difficulty chewing, may all be symptoms of TMD.

These symptoms sound bad, but perhaps we can help!

At East Tennessee Prosthodontics, we prescribe a variety of therapies to address the TMD symptoms that negatively affect the patient. For mild cases we may advise a simple first step, such as home physical therapy with hot and cold treatments or splint therapy. For more serious cases we might prescribe certain non-narcotic medications or bite therapy. As a last resort, we might recommend bite correction or joint surgery, but we always try simpler treatments first.

If you experience occasional or regular jaw pain or if you feel you may suffer from TMD, a simple, noninvasive evaluation is your first step to finding comfort, improving your smile, and getting back to your normal daily activities. For more information contact East Tennessee Prosthodontics at 865-769-0886.