Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
Is an umbrella term covering pain and dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (the joints that connect the mandible to the skull). The most important feature is pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) during jaw movement. Although TMD is not life-threatening, it can be detrimental to the quality of life, because the symptoms can become chronic and difficult to manage. TMD is thought to be very common; it is the most frequent cause of orofacial pain after dental pain (i.e. toothache). About 20-30% of the adult population is affected to some degree. Some patients can start having TMD symptoms as early as 7 years old. The symptoms tend to get worse over time, and it is more common in females than males (85% of TMD patients are female).
TMD consists of many symptoms rather than a single symptom, and it is thought to be caused by multiple factors.
However, these factors are poorly understood, and there is disagreement as to the relative importance of these factors with each other. Currently, no widely accepted treatment protocol exists and common treatments that are used include provision of occlusal splints, psychosocial interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications like analgesics (pain killers), and others. TMD patients have generally been misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, or even being psychologically imbalanced. Neither medical doctors nor dentists are trained to treat this disorder specifically. TMD patients are often told to just “live with it”.
Currently, there are few dentists or specialists that really treat TMD and most dentists simply prescribe Nightguards that only give minimal relief at best. After 20 years of practicing dentistry that encompasses orthodontics, full mouth reconstruction, and implant placement, Dr. Tran has come up with a solution for this disorder. His objective is to teach other dentists his technique, to help them tackle this serious disorder, and to pass on his knowledge so patients can benefit from it.