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Arizona Advanced Dental

Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists located in Mesa, AZ

Some 60 million men and women in the United States experience headaches, neck aches, and jaw clicking that are all characteristics of temporomandibular disorder (TMD). At Arizona Advanced Dental in Mesa, Arizona, Donald Clifford, DDS, and Casey Cutler, DDS, offer corrective treatments for your jaw to help ease TMD-related discomfort. To find out if your jaw is misaligned due to TMD, call Arizona Advanced Dental or book your appointment online today.


What is TMD?

TMD is not just one single disorder: Instead, it’s a group of disorders affecting your jaw and the way it works. Specifically, TMD affects your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It allows you to bite down, chew, speak, and otherwise open and close your mouth. The disorder is the result of misaligned bones, muscles, and ligaments within the joint.

TMD can be split into three categories:

Myofascial pain

This is the most common form of TMD, resulting in muscular pain in your jaw, neck, and shoulders.

Degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint diseases, like arthritis, are a common cause of jaw dysfunction and discomfort.

Joint derangement

Joint derangement is usually the result of an injury to your jaw joint. Common joint derangement injuries are dislocations and slipped discs.

How do I know if I have TMD?

TMD can cause a variety of symptoms above your shoulders, many of which are hard to attribute to jaw problems. Your TMD may result in:

  • Clicking or popping sounds when moving your jaw
  • Jaw locking into place when you yawn
  • Jaw cramps or muscle spasms
  • Earaches or ear pressure
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Tender jaw muscles
  • Facial swelling
  • Headaches
  • The pressure behind your eyes
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together

The symptoms of TMD tend to come and go in cycles. They may worsen if you’re stressed or if you grind your teeth at night unknowingly.

If you arrive at Arizona Advanced Dental with these or other symptoms indicating TMD, Dr. Clifford or Dr. Cutler examine your jaw’s movement and may recommend a T-Scan™ for a better view of the joint. The T-Scan helps them find the exact point of misalignment in your jaw.

What are my treatment options for TMD?

Dr. Clifford and Dr. Cutler create your treatment strategy using information from your T-Scan. They may be able to correct your bite with a custom occlusal guard that you wear at night to stop you from grinding your teeth and then adjust your jaw back into place. 

They may also recommend or prescribe:

  • Physical therapy exercises for your jaw alignment
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Mouthguards to use during impact sports
  • Hot or cold packs
  • A diet of soft foods

In some cases, TMD pain goes away on its own. If it keeps coming back, Dr. Clifford and Dr. Cutler will create a custom treatment plan to ease your symptoms without surgery.

If your jaw doesn’t seem to be functioning smoothly, call Arizona Advanced Dental or book an appointment online for TMD assessment today.