TMJD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: a chronic condition affecting the Temporomandibular (jaw) joint. This disorder is the most common form of oral or facial pain and currently affects over 100 million Americans. People with TMJD experience chronic symptoms including jaw pain, ear pain, dizziness, a clicking or popping noise in the jaw and headaches. Severe TMJD symptoms can cause sufferers to miss work and to experience a reduced quality of life.
Current treatments for TMJD include anti-inflammatory medications, night splints, orthodontic procedures, bite adjustment treatments and dental restorations. Often, physicians and dentists will work together to find a solution for treating the symptoms. However, even with these treatments, some individuals are not able to find relief. For this reason, there is much research being conducted on this disorder. A recent study published in the August issue of the journal Pain, detailed a study in mice conducted by researchers at Duke Medicine. In this study, the researchers we able to identify a protein, TRPV4, that is critical to TMJD pain. This newly identified protein could be a promising target for developing treatments for TMJD.
If you experience chronic ear pain, jaw pain, dizziness or other symptoms, you may be suffering from TMJD. It may be caused by a “bad bite” or misaligned jaw or by clenching or grinding your teeth at night, when you sleep. If your TMJD is caused by a bad bite, your dentist may recommend an orthodontic treatment or dental restorations to better align your jaw joint. If your symptoms are caused by clenching or grinding your teeth at night when you sleep, your dentist may recommend that you wear a night splint.
Don’t let the symptoms of TMJD negatively affect your quality of life. Visit your dentist today so he or she can help you get some relief from your symptoms and an improved quality of life.
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