If you regularly suffer from headaches or experience stiffness in your neck or shoulders, you may have a problem with your temporomandibular joint, known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD can also cause pain in your jaw, clicking or lock jaw.
What is TMD?
TMJ is the common name used to refer to the temporomandibular joint, the sliding hinge links the jaw to the temporal bone in the skull next to your ears. The joint enables you to move your jaw and accurately use your mouth for functions such as chewing and talking.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a problem that causes you to experience sharp pain, discomfort and problems in moving the jaw joint and the associated muscles on your face.
Causes of TMD
TMD occurs when a small disc held in place by cartilage connecting the joint to your face muscles becomes eroded or misaligned. This is often the result of injuries or misalignment of the teeth or jaw.
The disorder can also be caused by teeth grinding, excessive and continual chewing, arthritis in the jaw, poor posture, or a severe injury to the muscles in your face or neck.
Signs and symptoms
Severe pain in the jaw joint is the most easily recognized symptom of TMD. Some of the other symptoms include:
- Earache, headache, and hearing popping noises when you open or close mouth
- Lockjaw, problems with opening your mouth wide or closing it all the way
- Pain when you speak or chew, or pain on one or both sides of your face or shoulders
- Unusual sounds when you open your mouth
- Swelling on one or both sides of your face
- A general feeling of tiredness in your face or dizziness
- Ringing in your ears
- Toothaches or hearing problems
If you have any of these symptoms contact our office to schedule a TMD consultation with Dr. Onemany. During your consult, Dr. Onemany will examine your jaw and facial muscles and ask questions about your symptoms. In some cases, x-ray imaging, MRI’s and CT scans may be necessary.
How to find relief
You may experience pain in short, sharp bursts or it may be dull and lingering. Popular over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen can give you relief from muscle pain, soreness, and associated discomfort.
You can also try this simple routine:
- Stretch your jaw in an up-down and left-right manner for a few times.
- Put an ice pack on the side of your face where you feel pain and hold for ten minutes.
- Apply a warm towel to the same area for about five minutes.
You should also pay attention to your body and lifestyle. Stress can be a trigger for teeth grinding, so take steps to reduce stress through meditation, massage or things you find relaxing. If you find it painful to chew certain foods, avoid those foods.
Contact your Cardinal Dental Group team for a TMD assessment so we can prescribe a treatment for you. Don’t continue to live in pain!