Around ten million Americans suffer from TMD, but many people don’t know much about it. If you are a sufferer and it’s affecting the quality of your life, here are 4 facts you should know:
1.Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction involves the joint that attaches your jawbone to your skull. It can produce painful, annoying symptoms such as severe headaches, jaw pain, neck pain, and even chronic ear pain. If left untreated, TMD can make it difficult for you to speak or eat, and may even result in a locked jaw. However, not all jaw joint discomforts are actually TMD. We can best determine at your consultation appointment if you are suffering from TMD.
2.A diagnosis of TMD is typically made via x-rays and a complex oral examination. During the exam, we will massage the area of your face near your jaw to find the source of your pain and discomfort, and to feel for noticeable swelling. You will also be asked about your overall health, and the possible sources of stress in your life.
3.A very common cause of TMD is the habitual grinding of the teeth during sleep or stressful situations. This is called Bruxism. Other causes may be habitual clenching of the teeth, arthritis, misaligned teeth, or trauma to the neck or head.
4.When you are first diagnosed with TMD, mild treatment is recommended such as eating soft foods, focusing on stress-reduction, applying ice and heat, and possibly taking a muscle relaxant. If your TMD persists, we may recommend a mouth guard or protector to prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth. Although it is sometimes necessary, it is rare for someone suffering from TMD to undergo surgery.