Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD or TMJ syndrome, is a painful condition that affects the jaw joints. The temporomandibular joints are located on either side of the head, just in front of the ears. These joints are responsible for allowing the mouth to open and close smoothly and painlessly as you speak and eat. TMD is often caused by bruxism or the grinding of teeth while sleeping. It can also be caused by a misaligned bite and/or missing teeth that can cause the TMJ to become inflamed. Other causes include trauma to the face as well as arthritis.
If you suspect you might have TMD, make an appointment with your dental care provider right away. He or she will diagnose you based on an exam and a medical history of your symptoms and will provide treatment to alleviate your pain and get you back to feeling your best.
Symptoms of TMD
The jaw joint is very complex, and there are many things that can cause pain in this area. Some common symptoms of TMD include the following:
- Jaw locking or clicking
- Facial pain
- Teeth grinding (Bruxism)
- Changes in bite
- Difficulty chewing food
- Pain when opening your mouth wide
- Soreness around your ears
- Popping sounds when you open your mouth
- Muscle spasms
- Stiffness in your neck and face
- Problems with opening and closing your jaw
- Uneven teeth wear
Treatment For TMJ Disorder
Treatment for TMD often includes wearing a mouth guard at night to protect your teeth and reduce the effects of clenching and grinding. You may also receive physical therapy, medication, or injections to help reduce your inflammation and ease your pain. If the cause of the TMD is due to a misaligned bite, your dental care professional may recommend one or more restorative dentistry treatments such as dental crowns, dental bridges, dental implants, braces, or orthodontic treatments. It is important to seek treatment for TMD as soon as possible to avoid more long-term damage, such as additional tooth loss, gum disease, changes in facial appearance, and more. For more information regarding TMD, contact your dental care provider today to schedule a consultation!
Night Guards or Splints Can Help TMD
A night guard is a device worn in the mouth that is used to protect the teeth from grinding and the jaw joints from clenching. If you grind your teeth at night, you should wear a custom oral appliance that will protect your teeth from the damage caused by teeth grinding and clenching. A splint can relieve the tension in your jaw muscles and help relax your jaw joint. It can also prevent the wear and tear on your teeth caused by bruxism.
If you think you may be suffering from jaw pain or other symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact our office to schedule an appointment! We will be able to evaluate your condition and recommend the next steps of treatment.