Have you been recently diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder? If so, you may have started researching your condition — and you may have seen acronyms like TMJ, TMD and TMJD on the Internet as you looked for information. These abbreviations are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing to some people, so Dr. Caracioni makes it a priority to explain to patients the ins, outs and acronyms of their condition so they can understand their diagnosis and treatment plan.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. The TMJs are ball-and-socket joints that are found on either side of your face. They are the joints where your lower jaw connects to your skull, and they allow you to open and close your jaw to talk, eat or yawn, as well as move your jaw side to side and front to back.
What is TMJD?
TMJD and TMD are one and the same — they are both acronyms for temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJD is a condition that develops when the TMJs begin to wear down and stop functioning correctly.
TMJD often occurs due to the misalignment of the jaw and bite. When the bite is misaligned, the TMJs become strained, inflamed and painful. Other causes of TMJD include clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth, injury, missing teething, ill-fitting dental restorations, arthritis and some autoimmune diseases like scleroderma and lupus.
What Are the Signs of TMJD?
Some of the common symptoms of TMJD include clicking, popping or creaking of the jaw; loss of jaw function; inability to open and close the mouth; ear pain; headaches and migraines; neck and shoulder pain; and pain in the jaw joints with movement.
How Is TMJD Treated?
Dr. Caracioni treats TMJD that is caused by bite malocclusion through neuromuscular dental treatment designed to relax tense jaw muscles. Other therapies address the problems that are causing the bite to be uneven.
Dr. Caracioni also gives many TMJD patients an occlusal mouth guard, a device that fits over the teeth to prevent patients from clenching or grinding their teeth at night.
Do you have questions about your TMJD diagnosis? Call Dr. Caracioni today at 785-783-0741 with questions.