Do you experience frequent headaches, dizziness, or pain of the face, neck, jaw, shoulders, or teeth? You might be suffering from TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder, and not even know it.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD describes a variety of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), jaw muscles, and nerves associated with chronic facial pain. TMD occurs when the TMJ (jaw joint) does not function properly – movements are not synchronized, jaw twists when opening, or moves side to side.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
TMD symptoms include:
- An earache without an infection
- Jaw pain or soreness that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
- Jaw pain when you chew, bite, or yawn
- Clicking when opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Locked or still jaw when you talk, yawn, or chew
- Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found
What causes TMD?
TMD can be caused, or aggravated by certain strenuous physical or mental tasks – in other words, stress. Most discomfort is caused by overuse of the TMJ and jaw muscles, specifically clenching or teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Research also suggests that women are more likely than men to suffer from TMD – more than twice as many women have been diagnosed than men.
How is TMD treated?
As every patient is different, therapy and treatment will depend on the severity of your case. Many patients experience relief with simple education, awareness, and at-home stress management techniques. Eating soft foods and chewing gum can help.
You can control clenching and grinding during the day by sticking your tongue between your teeth. If this doesn’t help, you are probably clenching and grinding your teeth at night, in which case we will provide you with a custom mouth guard.
More severe cases will need more intensive treatment, including physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, posture training, orthopedic appliance therapy, and craniofacial massage. The most severe cases may require surgery.