What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is what allows the jaw to open and close. Like other joints, there is a disk of cartilage that prevents bone-on-bone contact. But unlike other joints, the temporomandibular joint is subject to a great deal of movement: it allows the jaw to open and close, slide forward and backward, and even move laterally side to side.
TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, occurs when the cartilage is damaged, erodes or moves out of its proper placement within the joint, or when the joint is somehow damaged.
A number of factors can increase the risk of developing TMD or increase its severity.
TMD Risk Factors
There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you develop TMJ disorder or may increase its severity.
- Jaw injury. If you are struck hard enough in the jaw, it can damage or dislodge one of the cartilage disks that allows the jaw to move without bone-on-bone contact. Over time, that cartilage disk can weaken or erode faster than it would have otherwise, leading to TMJ disorder.
- Osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, it causes the cartilage within a joint to break down faster and change the shape of joints. While it is more commonly associated with back or knee pain, it can also affect the jaw.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack cells and tissues in and around the joints, usually several joints at once. As with osteoarthritis, it’s usually associated with pain in other areas of the body, such as the hands, but it can afflict the jaw as well.
- Long-term grinding or clenching of the teeth. Overuse of the facial muscles can cause the TMJ joints to be overstimulated. If left unchecked, the tendons and nerves will wear out faster and the cartilage will be overworked, leading to TMD.
TMJ Disorder Treatment: Your First Appointment with Dr. Krish
With a background in dentistry, Dr. Krish branched out into treating TMJ and sleep disorders after coping with her own challenges as a patient. After suffering for far too long with getting good sleep and issues with jaw pain, she learned the proper care and techniques to help people who were also suffering, and eventually decided to devote all her time to exclusively treating TMD, Craniofacial Pain, and sleep disorders by opening the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of North Texas.
Before your initial exam, you will fill out comprehensive forms to help Dr. Krish better understand and diagnose underlying issues. At your first appointment with us, we’ll take measurements and photos that relate to the head, jaw, and neck. Dr. Krish will perform motor reflex testing and a physical exam to assist with an accurate diagnosis. Other testing, such as a CBCT scan, may be necessary as well to formulate an effective plan of treatment.
A Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block (SPG) can relieve facial and head pain, and is inhaled, making it an excellent non-invasive treatment. It’s a numbing agent that can also provide relief for other symptoms of TMD, like a limited range of motion.
Learn About SPG Blocks
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold Laser Therapy works wonders for patients who suffer from inflammation and pain! This simple therapy increases circulation and oxygen to the site of pain and accelerates the healing process, as well.
Learn About Cold Laser Therapy
Trigger Point Injections
When we constantly over-stimulate certain muscles in the body, it can cause trigger points and generalized pain to the area. A temporary numbing agent can be injected to the site of pain to provide relief for a few hours almost instantly.
Learn About Trigger Point Injections