While painful, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMD) refer to a cluster of conditions that are often characterized by pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or its surrounding tissues. The surrounding tissues might include the neck, head and even shoulders. Conditions involving the TMJ are so common among the adult population that up to 75% show at least one sign of TMD upon examination.
To help your patients reduce or eliminate their pain, let’s take a look at some of the instances in which TMD can cause further complications and how to educate your patients.
Other complications of TMD
Evidence continues to be available about TMD and how it can be worsened by other conditions. Today, it has been shown that anxiety, stress, and other emotional disturbances may worsen TMD. Some of the common signs of TMD include:
- Jaw pain.
- Limited or painful jaw movements.
- Neck pain or stiffness.
- Clicking or grating within the joint.
- Inability to open mouth without pain.
It has been shown that about 55% of patients with chronic headaches who were referred to a neurologist actually have signs of TMD. Without the education on TMD, signs and symptoms often go overlooked and no treatment can be found.
As a dentist, you can put an end to the misdiagnosis of TMD by completing further education. You can also educate your patients on self-care techniques and referral for non-invasive treatment should be considered.
TMD treatment can help
Signs and symptoms of TMD improve over time with at-home care, and with oral appliance therapy from the dental office. Previous studies have even shown that as many as 50% of patients improve in one year and 85 percent improve completely in three years.
Encourage conservative treatment before any invasive options are considered. It is important to treat your patients properly without causing further complications.