You have facial pain that just will not go away. Accompanied by stiffness and strange clicking and popping sounds, that discomfort centers on the two jaw joints under both your ears. Called the temporomandibular joints, these hinge-like joints can malfunction, causing what dentists and physicians call temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMD. Your Burlington, VT, dentists, Dr. Paul Dunkling and Dr. Greg Penney can offer relief so you can eat, speak and smile normally again.
TMD is no joke
Besides persistent or transitory jaw pain, TMD sufferers also experience:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Jaw swelling and stiffness
- Inability to open and close their mouths easily
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Ear pain
- Changes in dental bite
- Sensitivity to light
For unknown reasons, women in the 25 to 40 age group seem to suffer from TMD more than men do, says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Additionally, the pain may be inconsistent in frequency and varying in intensity, making diagnosis of this all too common malady very difficult.
Dr. Dunkling and Dr. Penney work with their TMD patients to actively listen to their symptoms, perform complete oral exams and take precise digital imaging to understand how the jaw joints are operating. After they gather all the facts, they formulate treatment options that make sense for the individual patient.
Common strategies include:
- A soft diet
- Over the counter analgesics
- Ice to the side of the face
- Relaxation exercises and physical therapy
- Orthodontic care to alleviate poor dental bites
- Placement of crowns or enamel resurfacing to even chewing surfaces
- Customized acrylic bite guards to cushion teeth from habitual clenching and grinding (bruxism)
Only the most extreme of cases warrant oral surgery to correct malformed and misaligned jaw bones.
If the symptoms described here sound like what you are experiencing, please contact Dunkling and Penney Dentistry today for a jaw pain consultation. The doctors and their caring staff love seeing patients smile when their discomfort finally is resolved. Call (802) 863-3479 for the Burlington, VT office. For Jericho, VT, phone (802) 899-3973.