TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. It refers to a condition that affects the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This joint is flexible, allowing your jaw to move easily up and down and side to side. TMD can result in pain and difficulty opening and closing your mouth.
What are the signs and symptoms of TMD and TMJ disorder?
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of TMD and TMJ disorder. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Pain and tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck, shoulders, and ears
- Locking or clicking of the jaw
- Restricted jaw movement
- Popping or clicking sound in the jaw joint
- Locked jaw
- Loosening of teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty opening or closing mouth
- Clicking or grating sensation when moving the jaw
- Jaw pain
- Earache and ear congestion
- Neck pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Hearing problems
If you experience any of the following symptoms for a prolonged period of time, then it’s time to speak with your dentist about TMD treatment options.
What are the causes of TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is not a condition in and of itself but rather a collection of symptoms. When experiencing symptoms, individuals are often unsure what’s causing it.
The root cause of TMD is inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and infection. Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is actually an articulation of two joints, one on each side of your face. These joints move every time you smile, yawn, talk, or chew. The act of chewing and talking puts a lot of strain on the muscles of these joints.
With TMD, the muscles and joints that control your jaw movement become inflamed. This inflammation can make it difficult to open your mouth all the way, chew, or even talk.
Some common causes of TMD include:
- Bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding)
- Wear and tear on your teeth
- Poor posture
- Muscle tightness
What treatments are available for TMD and TMJ disorder?
TMD is a chronic disorder that requires ongoing treatment. Treatment for TMD varies depending on the severity of your symptoms.
When a patient is diagnosed with TMD, the dentist will work to find the cause of the issue. Once that is under control, the patient can move forward with treatment.
In our dentist’s office, we may perform various procedures to treat your TMD. Often, dentists recommend a TMJ exam to determine the cause and severity of your TMD. From there, our dentist may recommend various procedures, such as:
- Bite adjustment
- Bite guard (night guard)
- Dental bonding
At home, patients can use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain. Your doctor may also recommend a soft or firm TMJ splint to help realign your bite. Splints are often worn at night but can be worn during the day if the TMD is more severe.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (480) 838-8558 to have a consultation with Dr. Christopher Payne, and we will be happy to help.