How to Detect TMD Early on To Reduce Long-term Effects
Posted on 8/24/2020 by Young Jun DDS MD FACS
|Temporomandibular Disorders don't often cause a great deal of concern for patients; however, it is important that TMD isn't ignored as it can lead to significant health problems if symptoms worsen.
Early Intervention with Temporomandibular Disorders
The diagnosis of TMD can often be complicated due to how many areas of the jaw can be involved. TMD will often involve the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the jaw, making treatment difficult.
It has been proven that early intervention and treatment of TMD can prevent it from escalating to chronic disease. It is not unusual for a patient with TMD to experience other health issues and problems such as muscle disorders, disc displacement, degenerative changes in the joint, or combined muscle-joint disorders.
Symptoms of TMD
For most patients, any symptoms they experience of TMD will clear on their own. However, it is important to note that if any pain continues for 3-6 months, the condition is considered chronic and may need medical intervention.
The common symptoms of TMD include pain in the muscles in the preauricular area or the temporomandibular joint, the joint clicks or pops, difficulty opening the mouth, the jaw locking in position, and the patient feeling as if their bite is off.
Diagnosing and Treating TMD
To diagnose TMD, a doctor or dentist will need to discuss the patient's symptoms and examine the jaw. It is important to examine how the patient can move their jaw and to identify where any pain is coming from. The patient may be referred to have some dental x-rays, a CT scan, and MRI to highlight any issues with the joint.
In a lot of cases, TMD will clear up by itself without any treatment being required. However, if symptoms persist, you will be recommended treatment options. These treatments may include pain relief, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatory medication. There are also options to have mouthguards, oral splints, or physical therapy if they suit your type of TMD. Occasionally, TMD can require surgery to help treat the symptoms.
If TMD is left untreated for a prolonged period, it can lead to long-term pain across the patient's entire upper body and result in significant health issues. TMD has been linked to migraines, upper body pain, discomfort across the entire body, and even hearing loss.
By addressing any TMD concerns early, this can prevent any serious health problems. If you feel that you may be suffering from TMD, don't hesitate in scheduling an appointment with one of our team.