Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and the nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that prevents the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony may result in temporomandibular disorder.” (Johns Hopkins) TMD’s are typically caused by injuries to the joint, head or neck, bruxism, arthritis or other factors. Commonly occurring between the ages of 30-50 but can be early onset.

Jaw pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, causing sometimes debilitating headaches.

 

Types of TMD
TMD are classified by The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research into the following categories.

-Myofascial Pain: Discomfort in the fascia (connective tissue covering the joints) and/or muscles of the jaw. This is the most common form of TMD. 

-Joint Disease: Including but not limited to, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. 

-Internal Damage of the Jaw: dislocation of the jaw, a displaced disk or damage to the bone.

Symptoms
TMD symptoms are generally pretty clear. If you notice any of the following, or anything else not normal with your jaw joint, please bring it up at your next wellness visit.

  • Discomfort in the jaw joint
  • Clenching/Grinding 
  • Popping/clicking in the joint
  • Headaches
  • Limited mouth movement
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw locking open


Treatment
Every case of TMD is unique and should be treated as such. Often these symptoms can be hard to treat and may require a specialist. If you’re having joint discomfort, you should discuss it with your dentist. Basic treatments include:

  • Oral Appliances ( to decrease effects of bruxism)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Injections (corticosteroids, Botox
  • Rest
  • Pain relievers
  • Ice & hot packs
  • Oral Appliances ( to decrease effects of bruxism)
  • Relaxation/Stress management techniques
  • Habit changes (preventing clenching)

 

 As a last resort surgery may be warranted only in extremely severe cases.

If you suffer from TMD or start experiencing symptoms, please bring it to our attention at your next wellness visit. 

 

References 

Johns Hopkins Medicine
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/temporomandibular-disorder-tmd#:~:text=Temporomandibular%20disorders%20(TMD)%20are%20disorders,may%20result%20in%20temporomandibular%20disorder.

Mayo Clinic
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tmj/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350945

 

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