Symptoms of TMD
There are several common signs and symptoms of TMD. These include:
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, shoulders, and head
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds/sensations in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty fully opening or closing the mouth
- The jaw that gets “stuck” or “locked” open or closed
- Teeth that don’t fit together properly (malocclusion)
- Headaches or ear pain
- Jaw pain or discomfort when chewing, speaking, or yawning
The symptoms may come and go, often worse with jaw movement or chewing. Stress, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, and other factors can worsen TMD pain and dysfunction. If any of these symptoms persist, it’s wise to seek evaluation and treatment. Dr. Doneskey at the Bellevue Sleep Apnea and Facial Pain Center specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of TMD.
How is TMD Diagnosed?
Dr. Doneskey uses advanced technology and a comprehensive exam process to accurately diagnose TMD. Initial diagnosis begins with a detailed medical history, asking questions about symptoms, onset, pain patterns, and health factors that could contribute. An oral exam checks for problems with jaw motion, joint noises, malocclusion, and muscle tenderness. Advanced imaging like CT scans or MRIs may be used to get a closer look at the jaw joints and surrounding structures. Dr. Doneskey will check for arthritis, disc displacement, tumors, fractures, and other joint problems that may underlie the condition.
Customized digital bite analysis is also used to pinpoint bite alignment issues that might be causing or exacerbating TMD. This technology allows Dr. Doneskey to analyze your bite down to the micron. Dental impressions are taken and then scanned digitally. This data is used to create an accurate 3D model of your teeth, jaws, and their unique relationship. From this, any interference points or instability in the bite can be identified that might contribute to TMD pain and dysfunction.
Other diagnostic tools include electromyography (EMG) to measure muscle activity, joint vibration analysis, and advanced cone beam CT technology. Using all of these techniques allows for a precise diagnosis of the contributing factors to your TMD. This sets the stage for customized, effective treatment.