Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Dental Services

Thank you all for your great service, kind care, and sweet attitudes. I love being your patient, blessings!

P.K.

My family and I have been a client of Dr. Steven Leach for 13 years. He has been a very positive influence concerning oral health. After consulting with Dr. Leach concerning a very crooked front tooth, he advised me and we came to the conclusion that we need to crown the teeth. His staff was encouraging, very kind and helpful with the decisions that needed to be made. Dr. Leach took great care to make sure that everything went according to plan. When it was time to fit the new teeth he was meticulous and the outcome was beyond my wildest hopes. For the first time I had a smile that I could really be proud of. Dr. Leach’s expertise, his excellent staff, and the lab made what could have been a harrowing experience a very enjoyable one.
Thank you Dr. Leach, “She said with a smile”!

K.H.

Dear Dr. Leach,  I just wanted to tell you thank you for my beautiful veneers! I love them and get compliments on them all the time. Thank you again!

Katie W.

Wow, my dental appointments were actually looked at as a pleasant experience, since Dr. Leach and his staff are so capable and sincere – and there was no discomfort as one usually expects.

C.R.

Thank you for everything leading up to and the day of my visit for Bioclear. I’m so happy with the results from the procedure and I appreciate all of the information everyone provided during the process. Thanks so much to you, Dr. Leach, for investing your time and talents in making this procedure available in our state. I’m very grateful for all of the kindness and care everyone gave to me. The office visits, phone conversations, and really all of my interactions with your office were very positive and put me at ease. Thank you so much for all that you all do!

Traci S.

Dr. Leach did a magnificent job on my teeth. He did some bonding to fill in some spaces and my teeth look just perfect. I am completely happy with the great job he did! He also did the work with no discomfort whatsoever and without even numbing. I was very comfortable the whole time.

J.M.

TMD, which is an abbreviation for Temporomandibular Disorder presents with a variety of symptoms. These include pain near your ear, your jaw or in the muscles on the sides of your face. Restricted jaw mobility and clicking/popping sounds in your jaw can be symptoms as well. TMD should not be confused with TMJ, which is an abbreviation for the Temporomandibular Joint itself. Everyone has a TMJ (two in fact). Not everyone has TMD!

Jaw Pain

TMD is characterized by disorders (and the subsequent pain and dysfunction) of the TMJ and surrounding muscles. Diagnosing these symptoms is not always easy, but many TMD cases can be resolved with the help of conservative home remedies. IT’s important to e explore these remedies before opting for more invasive and irreversible therapies (e.g. bridgework or surgery).

Your TMJs connect the lower jaw (the mandible) to the temporal bones on either side of your skull. These joints are incredibly complex, as they allow for motion in three directions. The mandible and temporal bone are connected in a ball and socket formation. In between lies a cushioning disk. Large muscles along the cheeks and temples move the mandible. Any of these parts (disk, muscles or the actual joint)  can be the source of TMD. If you’re experiencing difficulty opening or closing your jaw, or are in pain, Dr. Leach and his team can examine your jaw and determine the best course of action.

Causes of TMD

Just like any other joint in your body, the TMJ can be affected by inflammation, sore muscles, strained tendons or disk issues. TMD also has a genetic component (women appear to be more prone than men). Age and stress can be factors as well. In some cases a more systemic issue (e.g fibromyalgia) may be a root cause.

TMJ Joint

Signs and Symptoms of TMD

Clicking Sounds

Clicking, popping or grating sounds coming from the TMJ can be a sign of TMD. These typically occur when opening or closing the mouth and are caused by the disk inside the joint shifting or moving. IT can sometimes be loud enough for someone standing next to you to her it! Clicking on its own is fairly common (about one third of people experience jaw clicking). However, studies have shown that clicking accompanied by pain or reduced jaw function (e.g the jaw getting “stuck open or closed) is a sign of TMD.

TMD Pain Cycle
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Muscle Pain

Your jaw is operated by two large pair of muscles in your cheeks (masseter) and temples (temporalis). Soreness and stiffness in these muscles is often caused by grinding or clenching your jaw during sleep. This pain might be alleviated by the use of a nightguard, which is a custom-made mouthpiece that will help decrease the force generated when clenching or grinding. This, in turn, will allow your muscles to relax.

Joint Pain

Pain in the joint itself can be classified as arthritis (“arth” for joint, “itis” for inflammation) of the TMJ. Arthritis anywhere in the body has no cure, but medication and other interventions may help. See below for more information on pain relief.

Relieving the Pain

Once Dr. Leach’s team has performed an examination, the next step is working with the patient to determine the best approach for treatment. Treatment can vary from modifying diet (softer foods) to stretching, icing, heat application or medication (e.g anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxers).

Other Treatment Options

More severe cases of TMS may require more complex strategies for treatment. Some of these might include orthodontics, bridgework, cortisone injections or lavage (flushin) of the joint. TMD rarely requires major surgery. It’s important to discuss your treatment options with the experts at Steven Leach Dental and work thru the conservative, non-invasive treatments before moving on to something more complicated. In the majority of TMD cases, these conservative strategies prove effective. But above all else, the first step is an office visit and an examination by Dr. Leach’s team.

TMD Therapy Chart
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To learn more about available treatment options, view this chart on TMD Therapy.