Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, is a common and sometimes debilitating condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMD is characterized by some or all of the following symptoms: headaches, facial pain, shoulder pain, jaw pain, tooth grinding, tooth, wear, tooth cracking, tooth fracturing and ringing of the ears. As an expert in the field, Dr. Emily Hortman is able to determine if you have TMD and can provide a number of different treatments for the condition. With extensive training and some of the most advanced equipment in the industry, Dr. Hortman is recognized as a leading TMJ Specialist in Little River, SC.
The joint that connects the lower and upper jaw – known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – is one of the most complex joints in the body. Part of what makes the TMJ unusual is that, unlike any other joint, the TMJ can be affected profoundly by the positioning of your teeth. If your bite is misaligned, for instance, it can cause the TMJs to close awkwardly, possibly leading to soreness. This may be the beginning of TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction).
TMD is a degenerative condition and may worsen over time if no remedial action is taken. If left untreated, TMD can lead to episodic or even permanent lockjaw, as well as severe joint deterioration.
Getting Help for TMD
It’s important to take action as soon as possible if you think you may be suffering from TMD. If you live in the Little River area, we encourage you to make an appointment to see Dr. Emily Hortman at Palmetto Dental Associates.
The critical task in treating TMD is ensuring that your bite—which is interfering with the functionality of the TMJ—is adjusted so that your jaw can open and close without stressing and irritating your joints. There are several therapies available to assist in the corrective process such as reshaping of the teeth, splint therapy/oral appliance therapy, strengthening exercises, pain medications, nerve blocks, and in extreme cases surgery. Ultimately the treatment plan will be customized for each individual patient based on their specific needs.
You will find products offered over-the-counter which purportedly help with TMD. These products are often fairly flexible and may be comfortable to wear. While they may temporarily relieve some of the symptoms associated with TMD, these products don’t provide patients with the long-term solutions and in many cases worsen the existing symptoms and even create new ones.
Contact Our Little River TMJ Specialist for a Thorough Evaluation
If you reside in Little River or the surrounding area and are suffering from persistent jaw pain or soreness, headaches, migraines, shoulder pain, an uncomfortable bite, or bouts of lockjaw, we encourage you to schedule an appointment for an evaluation with Dr. Hortman. We are able to provide non-surgical TMJ and TMD solutions in many cases.