Millions of people in the United States suffer from chronic face and neck discomfort, and severe, recurrent headaches. Occasionally, this kind of discomfort is caused by Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the joints that link the lower jawbone to the skull. These joints are constantly strained throughout the day as you talk, chew, swallow, and yawn. The pain in and around these joints may be debilitating and may even limit mobility.
TMD symptoms include the following:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain, ringing, or stuffiness
- Headaches or neck pains on a regular basis
- When the jaw moves, a clicking or popping sound occurs.
- Spasms of the jaw muscles
- A shift in the position of the top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or mouth opening that is restricted
You should tell your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms at your next visit. Your doctor can help you figure out if you have TMD and come up with a treatment plan that fits your needs.
Not all jaw pain is caused by TMD.
Make sure to see your dentist and get checked out if you think you have TMD. Some people have TMD, but not all jaw pain is caused by TMD. If you don’t have TMD, there are many things you can do to keep your smile healthy and strong.
- Relax your face — “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid all gum chewing
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
TMD may develop in persons who have never had braces. It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing braces or not if your symptoms come and go. We encourage you to call our office if you are suffering any of the symptoms mentioned and believe you may be a candidate for TMD therapy.