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What can Cause TMD in Adults?

By: Dr. Vivian Throop


If you have ever developed a toothache or jaw pain, you know just how uncomfortable and hindering it can be. For patients with a TMJ disorder, jaw pain can be even more severe and chronic, and often become worse over time. At City of Oaks Dental, Raleigh, NC dentist Dr. Vivian Throop is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating TMJ conditions and pain to help patients get the relief they deserve and be able to enjoy eating, chewing, talking, and sleeping comfortably once again. To determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your TMD, it is first necessary to understand what may be causing your symptoms and conditions. Read on for more information on the potential causes of TMJ/TMD pain, and find out what treatment may be most effective for you.

What is TMJ?

Many people use the term “TMJ” to refer to a painful condition affecting the jaw. More accurately, the acronym TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint – which is located at the point of connection between the lower jaw and skull. When this joint becomes irritated, inflamed, injured, or otherwise compromised, it can lead to the condition known as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder/dysfunction.

How can I tell if I have TMD?

TMJ/TMD should be diagnosed by a qualified professional, but there are some symptoms that may point to a likely TMD diagnosis. These may include:

  • Clicking or popping sound in your jaw
  • The jaw locks when opened or closed in certain positions
  • Tooth and/or jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Changes in your bite

If you suspect that you may have TMD, Dr. Throop can perform a comprehensive examination. Digital x-rays may be taken to further evaluate the structure of the jaw, and Dr. Throop may also utilize the cutting-edge BioPAK Jaw Diagnostic System to take additional measurements ahead of selecting the most fitting treatment option for you.

What causes TMJ?

TMD, or TMJ disorders, can be caused by a number of things, some of the most common of which include:

  • Jaw injury
  • Dislocated jaw
  • Osteoarthritis in the jaw
  • Loss of bone material
  • Wearing down of jawbone
  • Clenching and grinding
  • Bite misalignment

How is TMD treated?

TMJ pain can be relieved with a variety of TMD treatment options. To better understand which treatment or combination of treatments may be most effective and appropriate for you, Dr. Throop will first determine the likely cause of your TMD and assess the nature and severity of your symptoms. Based on her findings, Dr. Throop may recommend one or more of the following approaches to TMJ pain relief:

  • Multiwave Lock System (MLS) laser treatment
  • Dental appliance
  • Night guard
  • Corrective procedure for bite misalignment
  • Dental crowns, bridges, or dentures
  • Changes to your diet and lifestyle
  • Acute pain management with over-the-counter medications, ice packs, etc., until you can see your dentist

Even if your TMD doesn’t seem particularly bothersome now, it is still important to schedule an evaluation with your dentist because the condition often worsens over time if left untreated.

Restore comfort and function with advanced TMD treatments in Raleigh, NC

When simple movements like yawning or laughing lead to a locked jaw and craniofacial pain, TMD may be to blame. Don’t live with TMJ pain any longer than you have to. Take the first step toward correcting TMD and getting the pain relief you deserve by calling City of Oaks Dental to schedule your consultation for TMD treatment with leading Raleigh, NC dentist Dr. Vivian Throop today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.