TMD occurs as a result of abnormality of the jaw joint and the associated muscles, tendons, and ligaments that move the jaw and position the head. As such, it is an orthopedic disorder that can have enormous consequence with pain or poor jaw movement and function. Some patients experience clicking upon movement, others find inability to open normally, while others experience pain or headache as their only symptom.
During the first visit careful attention is given to arrive at a precise and accurate diagnosis as headache and facial pain can result from many causes. A thorough history, detailed examination, and diagnostic imaging either performed here of by a referring doctor is necessary to determine the true nature of the problem and direct the appropriate therapy.
When TMD is shown to be the cause of symptoms treatment is most frequently conservative in nature and 90% avoid surgery. At the heart of conservative management may be a variety of appliances worn over the teeth to place the joint and muscles in a position to recover. On occasion, other forms of treatment are recommended which may include physical therapy, medication, and injection of trigger points, muscles, and tendon attachments. Recently, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection into the joint has shown promise in a subset of patients.