If Experiencing TMD Symptoms, Visit an Aurora Orthodontics Office

Most of the time, Aurora orthodontics practices are automatically associated with braces and other treatment methods used to straighten out a person’s teeth. While there is nothing wrong with that line of thinking, it should be emphasized that orthodontics goes beyond simply straightening the teeth. One of the other dental problems that experienced orthodontists, such as Dr. Charles F. Reed, treat is TMJ. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a hinge joint that connects the jaw to the skull. This joint controls the movements that allow the lower jaw to open, close, and move from side to side. The flexible movements of the TMJ are what enables a person to speak, chew, yawn, etc. In essence, the TMJ is one of the strongest joints in the human body, but there are instances when the TMJ becomes overstressed. When this happens, a person develops temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Although dental practitioners are not exactly sure what causes TMD, most agree that excessive grinding of teeth or clenching of the jaw is a highly probable cause of TMD. When TMD develops, a person is likely to experience jaw, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and difficulty in opening or closing the mouth completely. Self-diagnosing TMD is very difficult. It is best to go to an Aurora or Denver orthodontics practice for proper evaluation. The following excerpt from a WebMD article explains the diagnostic process further: Your dentist will examine your temporomandibular joints for pain or tenderness; listen for clicking, popping, or grating sounds during jaw movement; look for limited motion or locking of the jaw while opening or closing the mouth; and examine bite and facial muscle function. Sometimes panoramic X-rays will be taken. These full face X-rays allow your dentist to view the entire jaws, temporomandibular joint, and teeth to make sure other problems aren’t causing the TMD symptoms. Sometimes, other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computer tomography (CT), are needed. The MRI views the soft tissue such as the TMJ disc to see if it is in the proper position as the jaw moves. A CT scan helps view the bony detail of the joint. If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic jaw pain or other TMD symptoms, visit an experienced orthodontist for evaluation. Although the condition is not life-threatening, TMD can easily affect a person’s quality of life, and it may progress to more troubling conditions such as lockjaw.