What is TMD?

TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder (or dysfunction). Essentially, TMD is an imbalance between the teeth, muscles, and jaw joints.
TMJ, TMD image



TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The TMJs are the joints that hinge the lower jaw (mandible) to the upper jaw (maxilla).



There are many symptoms of TMD that can include:

Headache

Sore neck

Difficulty chewing

Popping or grating of the jaw joints

Ear pain, itching or ringing of the ears

Jaw pain or discomfort

Gum recession

Jaw joints locking open or closed

Teeth that are worn flat

Aching facial muscles

Cracked, broken, or loose teeth

Sensitive or painful teeth

Abfractions (notching of teeth at the gumline)

Difficulty keeping your mouth open during dental appointments

Feeling that you “can’t find your bite”

What are the causes?

TMD may occur when the teeth don’t fit together correctly (improper occlusion). This may happen naturally, or is sometimes caused by trauma or a medical condition such as arthritis. While some people have improper occlusion and never develop TMD, others experience an imbalance to the degree that the muscles react. The body often responds by clenching or grinding in an effort to correct the imbalance. This can lead to many of the symptoms listed above.

How do I know if I have TMD?

Diagnosis begins by talking with you about your symptoms and history. Then we will do a thorough examination of your head and neck muscles, jaw joints, and a complete oral examination to rule out other causes and determine whether the problem is in fact TMD.

What can be done about it?

We may recommend an orthotic appliance fitted to your lower teeth to balance your bite. The appliance will be meticulously adjusted over a six to twelve week period. Experience has shown us that a well balanced bite will allow the muscles to relax and many of the symptoms will disappear. This process is both diagnostic and therapeutic, and is completely reversible. After we have stabilized your bite on an appliance, we can discover together what changes are necessary on your teeth to maintain stability for the long term. This is a very individual process, ranging from slight adjustment of the teeth to comprehensive full-mouth rehabilitation.


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If you are concerned you may have TMD,
call us at 755-6116 for a complimentary consultation
regarding your condition.


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40 Four Mile Drive, Ste 6, Kalispell MT 59901