How To Help Manage Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Throughout your lifetime you have up to a 33% chance of experiencing Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). This disorder arises due to issues with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that contribute to chewing and jaw movement. If these joints are not able to properly function a number of issues arise.

Since TMD has different causes and levels of severity, the pain and discomfort can be much worse for some patients than it is for others. TMD can become so bad that it interferes with your ability to eat, socialize, and go about your daily life. In this blog we detail the symptoms associated with TMD, as well as how you can help manage TMD for a happy, healthy life.

Do You Have TMD? Know The Symptoms

TMD can cause any number of symptoms to arise, most of which cause discomfort and pain. For some, the symptoms of TMD only last for a brief time, but for others the pain can last for years. The most common age to experience TMD is between 20 and 40-years old. Interestingly, it is more common for women to experience TMD compared with men. TMD can occur on one side of your face or both sides of your face.

Common symptoms of TMD include:

-When you eat, talk, or open your mouth you notice discomfort around your ear(s)

-Pain in your jaw, face, or extending all the way down to your neck and shoulders

-Cannot open your mouth as wide as you once could

-Lock jaw, if your jaw gets stuck while opened or closed

-A clicking or popping sound whenever you open or close your mouth

-Swollen face

-Toothaches and earaches

-Dizziness

-Ringing in ears

It is not always easy to determine on your own if you are experiencing TMD or a different underlying condition such as a tooth ache, gum disease, or sinus problems. By consulting with your local orthodontist you can uncover the actual cause of your pain and discomfort.

 

Treatment Options Available To Manage TMD

Once you know that you are suffering from TMD there are things you can do to help manage your discomfort.

For mild cases of TMD you can help reduce symptoms at home by:

-Switching to soft foods

-Applying ice to sensitive areas

-Avoid making large movements with your jaw

-Taking pain medication

 

For more serious cases of TMD you may need:

-Bite adjustment

-TMJ implants

-TMD surgery

 

When all other treatment methods do not work, surgery is a last resort for patients suffering from TMD. The point of TMD related surgery is to remove the underlying issue causing your jaw muscles or joints to malfunction in the first place. In order to undergo a successful surgery it’s important to find an orthodontist with vast experience in this field.

 

What Causes TMD?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the onset of TMD. Knowing the cause of your jaw pain will help determine the proper treatment method for you.

The main causes of TMD include:

-Injury to the head neck, jaw, or related muscles; including a heavy blow or whiplash

-Teeth grinding or clenching, over time this causes a lot of pressure on your jaw

-If the soft disc between the ball and socket become dislocated

-Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis of the temporomandibular joint.

-Stress, which can lead to clenching or tightening of the jaw

 

Clearly, all of these causes are far and wide in origin, meaning each includes a slightly different approach for treatment. By talking with an orthodontist that specializes in TMD you can uncover the best way to manage and treat the disorder.

Are you experiencing pain related to TMD? Call or visit 360 Orthodontics today, we can help you find the relief you deserve.