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When people think of oral health problems, often their first thoughts will go to tooth decay or gum disease, but the concerns don't stop there. Temporomandibular disorders or TMDs are painful jaw conditions that can make it difficult to smile, chew or talk. Recently, researchers from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine set out to determine what factors put a person at risk of developing this disorder.
"The UB role in the project was to develop well-designed examination procedures to help dentists and other health care providers identify risk factors for TMD," said Richard Ohrbach, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of oral diagnostic sciences in the UB.
The scientists discovered that there are many factors that can affect TMD. For example, people with the condition tend to have experienced trauma to the jaw, earaches, tinnitus or hearing loss, fainting and dizziness.
WebMD reports that teeth grinding can also cause TMD, as this puts a great deal of pressure on the jaw. A dentist can identify if a person appears to be engaging in this behavior and address it before it leads to TMD or tooth erosion, just one of the many reasons why it's important to visit a dental health professional regularly.
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