Many health conditions and other factors can potentially be the cause of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, or TMD. For instance, TMD can be the result of arthritis, whiplash from a car accident, a misaligned bite or orthodontic work, among several other possibilities. For this reason, TMD is often difficult to diagnose. The TMJ dentists at Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey may need to collaborate with your primary care physician and / or medical specialist to help your team of medical care providers diagnose your TMD. Nonetheless, here are some things to keep in mind when seeking a TMD diagnosis.
One of the first considerations your dentist, primary care physician and other specialists will inquire about when determining a diagnosis is your symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, they may be an indication of TMD:
- Difficulty chewing
- Limited range of motion when opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking, grating or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Dull, aching facial pain
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Depending on your symptoms, you may need to visit one or more medical care providers to establish an appropriate treatment plan for your TMD. When visiting your dentist, primary care provider and /or ear, nose and throat specialist, one or more of the following exams may be performed:
- Dental exam to assess your bite and any orthodontic work you may have had performed
- Pressing on regions of the head to establish which areas are painful or sensitive
- Feeling the joint and muscles for pain, sensitivity or tenderness
- Sliding the teeth from one side to the other
- Observing, listening and feeling the jaw as it opens and closes
- MRI or X-rays of the jaw
Sometimes sufferers of TMJ have normal results from their physical exams. When this happens, further specialized testing may be required. The treating physician must also consider the presence of other health conditions, such as arthritis (as mentioned above), ear infections, nerve-related problems, dental problems, whiplash and other possibilities.
If You Think You May Have TMD
If you think you may have TMD, start on the road to establishing a diagnosis as quickly as possible. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can learn about your TMD treatment options and start alleviating your TMD pain.
To schedule an appointment with a TMJ dentist, contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey by calling (855) 865-3627.