TMJ and TMD
TMJ is the acronym for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone. This joint controls many jaw functions, like chewing or speaking. If the chewing muscles or the joint itself are causing you pain you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.
Symptoms of TMD Include
- Pain when opening or closing mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
- Headaches or ear pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Teeth Grinding
Many of these symptoms can also point to other health problems, so only a health professional can diagnose whether or not you are experiencing TMD. Prolonged teeth grinding, or bruxism, is an especially problematic symptom as it can cause enamel to wear off teeth, exposing dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold food or drink may also develop from excessive teeth grinding.
If you suspect you may have TMD, come in for a consultation. We can help diagnose you and provide relief for your symptoms. Pain relievers and hot/cold compresses are short term methods to provide relief for pain symptoms. A night guard can be used to help prevent, in addition to lessening the effects of teeth grinding at night, leading to a more permanent solution. In very severe cases of TMD, surgery may be required. However, behavioral treatments to change the way you use your jaw muscles are usually enough to provide relief.
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