TMJ Disorders

If you experience ongoing pain near your ear, jaw or the muscles on the side of your face, possibly accompanied by a clicking or popping sound or restricted jaw movement, you may be suffering from TMD (temporomandibular disorders).

TMD describes a group of conditions characterized by pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint and/or the surrounding muscles. While it’s not always easy to figure out exactly what's causing these symptoms, most TMD cases resolve themselves with the help of conservative remedies that you can try at home.

The two joints that connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull on either side are very complex. Allowing movement in three dimensions, the lower jaw and temporal bone fit together as a ball and socket, with a cushioning disk in between. Large pairs of muscles in the cheeks and temples move the lower jaw. Any of these parts — the disk, the muscles or the joint itself — can become the source of a TMD problem. If you are in pain or are having difficulty opening or closing your jaw, a thorough examination can help pinpoint the problem area so that an appropriate remedy can be recommended.

Signs and Symptoms of TMD:

  • Some people with TMD hear a clicking, popping or grating when they open or close their mouth. This is usually caused by a shifting of the disk inside the joint.
  • If you feel soreness and stiffness in the cheeks and temples upon waking up in the morning, you may be clenching or grinding your teeth at night. A custom nightguard can decrease the force applied to your teeth, helping your muscles relax and relieving jaw pressure.
  • Pain that's coming from one or both jaw joints technically would be described as arthritis of the TMJ. While there is no cure for arthritis, medication can sometimes help relieve symptoms.

Sometimes a temporary change to a softer diet can reduce stress on the muscles and joints. Ice or moist heat can help relieve inflammation, while muscle spasms can be helped with gentle stretching exercises. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants can also provide relief.

Severe TMD cases may require more complex forms of treatment like orthodontics, dental restorations or minor procedures inside the joint. It’s rare for major surgery ever to be necessary in a case of TMD. It’s important to try the wide range of conservative, reversible treatments available, and give them enough time to work as they almost always prove effective.

TMJ Disorders

If you experience ongoing pain near your ear, jaw or the muscles on the side of your face, possibly accompanied by a clicking or popping sound or restricted jaw movement, you may be suffering from TMD (temporomandibular disorders).

TMD describes a group of conditions characterized by pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint and/or the surrounding muscles. While it’s not always easy to figure out exactly what's causing these symptoms, most TMD cases resolve themselves with the help of conservative remedies that you can try at home.

The two joints that connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull on either side are very complex. Allowing movement in three dimensions, the lower jaw and temporal bone fit together as a ball and socket, with a cushioning disk in between. Large pairs of muscles in the cheeks and temples move the lower jaw. Any of these parts — the disk, the muscles or the joint itself — can become the source of a TMD problem. If you are in pain or are having difficulty opening or closing your jaw, a thorough examination can help pinpoint the problem area so that an appropriate remedy can be recommended.

Signs and Symptoms of TMD:

  • Some people with TMD hear a clicking, popping or grating when they open or close their mouth. This is usually caused by a shifting of the disk inside the joint.
  • If you feel soreness and stiffness in the cheeks and temples upon waking up in the morning, you may be clenching or grinding your teeth at night. A custom nightguard can decrease the force applied to your teeth, helping your muscles relax and relieving jaw pressure.
  • Pain that's coming from one or both jaw joints technically would be described as arthritis of the TMJ. While there is no cure for arthritis, medication can sometimes help relieve symptoms.

Sometimes a temporary change to a softer diet can reduce stress on the muscles and joints. Ice or moist heat can help relieve inflammation, while muscle spasms can be helped with gentle stretching exercises. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants can also provide relief.

Severe TMD cases may require more complex forms of treatment like orthodontics, dental restorations or minor procedures inside the joint. It’s rare for major surgery ever to be necessary in a case of TMD. It’s important to try the wide range of conservative, reversible treatments available, and give them enough time to work as they almost always prove effective.

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