Frequently Asked TMD, TMJ Questions
What is TMD?
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorder (sometimes known as Temporomandibular Dysfunction) which means that there is a problem with the way the temporomandibular joint or TMJ (which is your jaw joint below your temples) functions when you bite or chew. Even when it is at rest, you may experience symptoms, primarily due to misalignment of your teeth and jaw. This disorder can not only create pain in your jaw, it can cause headaches or many other types of chronic pain in your head, face, and even your neck, shoulders, and arms! (For information on symptoms, please see our TMD Symptoms page.)
How do I know if I have TMD?
Diagnosing TMD is difficult. Besides determining if you have symptoms of TMD, you may need to discuss your symptoms with an experienced neuromuscular dentist, such as Dr. Elenbaas. She has been trained in neuromuscular dental science at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute (LVI) for Advanced Dental Studies, the leading institute for neuromuscular dental training. She can tell you if the jaw pain and symptoms you are experiencing are likely the result of TMD.
How does my bite cause me problems?
When your bite is misaligned, your teeth do not fit together properly so your jaw muscles have to work harder. They become tense and sore, causing pain and other TMD symptoms. Because your jaw doesn't come together correctly, your jaw, head, and neck muscles cannot relax properly. All of these factors come together to cause the pain you feel, but can be corrected by a trained neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Elenbaas.
What type of treatment can I expect if I have TMD?
If you suffer from TMD, there are several TMD treatment options. Out dentists will consult with you about what type of symptoms you are experiencing and, after determining the cause or your symptoms, they will recommend the course of treatment that is best for you, so you can get relief from your pain and reclaim your pain-free life.
Is anything I am doing causing my TMD?
Even if you are stressed, anxious, or emotional at times, these are normal feelings and emotions, which do not in themselves cause TMD. TMD is caused by misaligned teeth which strain your head and neck muscles, which then cause you to feel pain. Your pain can easily be mistaken for stress, but the cause is primarily physical, not emotional. In fact, your pain may be causing you more stress and making you feel worse. Treating your TMD can release this pain and even create a more stress-free you!