Temporomandibular Disorder

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as severe, recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

TMJ and TMD Treatment at Austin Orthodontics

Dr. Briggs follows a Gnathological approach to occlusion and TMD treatment.  The Gnathological approach is centered upon an understanding of the anatomy of the jaw and the tempormandibular jaw joint as they relate to jaw position, bite position, bite and joint stability, and overall masticatory muscle tone.

  • We evaluate all potential causes and factors of your TMD symptoms (life stress, a past dental procedure that put strain on your jaw joint(s), bruxism (tooth grinding), malocclusion (poor bite), previous orthodontic treatment and many others).
  • There isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment plan for TMD; so we will present you with a customized treatment plan that is sensitive to your needs and level of urgency. 
  • Because TMJ and TMD treatment is so personal, we ask a lot of questions and listen! Gathering a thorough history of your dental health and TMD symptoms is key in accurately diagnosing the cause of your symptoms. An accurate diagnosis helps to get you on the road to relief fastest! 

At Austin Orthodontics, we offer many different treatment plans to give you the solution you need.  Some of the things we might recommend could include any of the following: home care (muscle stretches, soft diet, etc…), splint therapy, refer you to an oral surgeon, physical therapy, orthodontics and many others. We offer no-interest payment plans for your TMD therapy and file to dental insurance when coverage is available. Contact us today to make an appointment!

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

If you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, let your doctor know at your next appointment. Your doctor can help determine if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.

Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD.

If you feel that you might have TMD, it is always important to see your dentist and receive an exam. However, not all jaw pain is associated with TMD, and if you do not have TMD there are many different preventive steps you can take to maintain a healthy, strong smile.

  • Relax your face — "Lips together, teeth apart"
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid all gum chewing
  • Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared

Many people get TMD without ever having braces. Symptoms usually wax and wane regardless of whether braces are worn. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and are concerned that you're a candidate for TMD treatment, please contact our office for a consultation.