December 24, 2016
The acronyms TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably. They shouldn’t be, however, because they refer to two different but related concepts. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint; TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. Everyone has TMJs, but not everyone has TMD—the often painful consequences of having a temporomandibular joint that does not function properly. If you need TMD therapy in Ft. Collins, then Aspen Dental Care offers treatment with either an oral bite appliance or Botox, so you can smile pain free.
Finding your TMJs is easy. Place your fingertips on either side of your face just in front of your ears. Now, move your lower jaw up and down, and from side to side. The joint that you feel moving under your fingers is the TMJ. When functioning properly, the TMJs allow you to open your mouth so you can eat, speak, smile, laugh and yawn.
However, this joint is a complex system of bone, cartilage and muscle. Many factors can contribute to its malfunction. Some include:
- Injury to your face, head or neck
- Teeth grinding and clenching, which puts unnatural pressure on these joints
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Daily stress that causes you to clench your teeth
The most common symptom that patients who have TMD report is a sharp pain when they attempt to open or close their mouth. This pain or discomfort may not only occur in your jaw, but may also extend down your neck and even to your shoulders. You may also notice:
- Feeling as if your jaw is stuck or locked in position
- Facial muscle fatigue
- Swelling on the side of your face
- A toothache but no sign of decay or infection
- An earache but no sign of infection
- Dizziness and headaches
Treating TMD in Ft. Collins
If Dr. Lindsey determines that you do have TMD, then there are two treatment options. The first is an oral appliance to be worn at night while you sleep. This helps to prevent teeth grinding and clenching, which is the most common cause of TMD.
However, this appliance does relieve the pain of all TMD sufferers. Therefore, Dr. Lindsey also offers Botox injections. Normally used for cosmetic purposes to eliminate facial lines and wrinkles, a concentrated amount of Botox injected into the muscles of your TMJs stops them from contracting to the point of pain and discomfort. These muscles will still be able to function so you can chew and speak.
Call Our Office Today
If you are experiencing any of the uncomfortable symptoms of TMD, then call Aspen Dental Care. We provide TMD therapy for Ft. Collins, CO and the surrounding communities.
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