TMD 101

What is TMJ?

TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint, connects your jawbone on the right and left side to your skull. This joint lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, laugh, etc.

What is TMD? 

TMD stands for temporomandibular disorders, and occurs when you have problems with your jaw and certain face muscles.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

TMD causes pain and tenderness in the jaw, neck, face, and sometimes ears and shoulders. It can also limit your jaw mobility. TMD can also cause your jaw to lock, swelling, and popping of the jaw when you chew. Your face may feel tired and you may feel as if your upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly when you bite. Other common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, ringing of the ears, and toothaches.

What causes TMD?

Although the exact cause of TMD is unknown, several factors can contribute to the pain you may experience. TMD may be caused by injury such as whiplash, problems within your jaw or muscles, arthritis, or teeth clenching or grinding.

Who develops TMD?

TMD affects 12% of the population. Although anyone can experience TMD, it is most common in women aged 20-40.

How is TMD diagnosed?

Because TMD’s symptoms can also be signs of other problems, it is often hard to diagnose. If your pain is severe and persistent you need to consult with your doctor or dentist. Your doctor can help rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as sinus or ear infections. Your dentist will likely ask about your history and conduct a physical exam and/or take X-rays.

How is TMD treated?

TMD can be treated a variety of ways depending on the severity. For many people, pain medications will provide relief and the problem will fix itself. If your pain is severe, your dentist may prescribe a stronger medication. Some people will have to wear a splint, which fits over the upper and lower teeth to keep your teeth from clenching. Other treatments include steroid injections, grinding down the teeth, and orthodontic work. Surgery is a last-resort option and should only be done when necessary.

If you have any other questions ab about TMD, please feel free to contact us today.

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