1. What is it?

TMD/TMJ is a group of issues that trigger jaw discomfort.  The proper term for TMD/TMJ is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or Temporomandibular Disorder. It is caused by multiple factors but the overwhelming symptom is a pain in the jaw and the muscles of mastication. They’re the muscles used in chewing and jaw movement. TMD can either be a mild annoyance, or it can negatively affect the quality of life because the pain can become too chronic and difficult to manage. Courtenay Dental Health and Implant Centre can help you determine if your pain is caused by TMD/TMJ.

2. What are the symptoms?
You might have symptoms of TMD if you regularly experience pain in the jaw, neck, or face.  Other symptoms of TMD include stiff jaw muscles, a jaw that locks or has restricted activity, painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint.

3. Who can help?
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult a dental specialist who will evaluate your symptoms as well as your dental history. The specialist will be able to do a comprehensive investigation to see exactly what your best options are for treatment.  The dental professionals at Courtenay Dental Health and Implant Centre can evaluate your symptoms and begin the process to alleviate your jaw pain.

4. How is it treated?
Serious cases of TMD are sometimes treated surgically, but there are also non-surgical options for treatment available. A stabilisation or splint can be used to treat cases of TMD.  This treatment involves fitting a plastic guard over the upper or lower teeth. It aids in preventing clenching and grinding of the teeth and typically just needs to be used during the night unless directed differently by your dental professional. Another option is physical therapy. It’s an option that consists of stretching, acupuncture, or ultrasound treatments, which would help relax your jaw muscles. Drug therapy can also be used, as anti-inflammatory medications might be able to alleviate pain and relax the jaw.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of TMD/TMJ, Courtenay Dental Health and Implant Centre will be able to set out all of your options and help you choose the best way to continue. The first step is to consult your dental professional to receive the proper TMD diagnosis. Then you can work together with your dentist to develop the treatment plan that is the right fit for your needs.

If you have any questions about TMD/TMJ or to book an appointment, call Courtenay Dental Health and Implant Centre at (250) 338-5011.