If you or someone you know suffers with chronic pain in the jaw, face, neck, or shoulders it may be due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that’s located on each side of your upper jaw in front of your ears. These joints connect your jawbone to your skull and can rotate and move forward, as well as backward and side to side. Along with other muscles and ligaments, it enables you to chew, swallow, speak, and even yawn. If a problem occurs with the muscle, bone, or tissue around the TMJ, then it could be a temporomandibular joint disorder – or TMD.
Pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw joint, or the muscles of the jaw, face, or temples may be symptoms of a TMD. Additional symptoms can include problems involving swelling, opening or closing your mouth, and/or a clicking, popping, or grinding noise when you chew or open your mouth.
TMDs can be caused by factors such as jaw injuries or joint disease, including arthritis. Grinding or clenching your teeth, as well as head and neck tension, is believed to contribute to making TMD symptoms worse. In some cases, partial or full dentures that don’t fit properly, and habits like fingernail or pencil biting, might also lead to TMDs.
Many people with TMDs often get better without treatment. Using cold or warm compresses and gently massaging the jaw muscles can help. You can also try a soft-food diet and avoid hard or chewy foods. It’s important to relax your jaw muscles; don’t open your jaw too wide including, by example, when you yawn.
If you’re concerned that you may have a TMD… The clinic can provide an exam that will evaluate your temporomandibular joint. Pain relievers and cold compresses will sometimes provide temporary relief for most cases of TMDs. If it is more serious, alternate treatments will be recommended. You may be advised to use an orthodontic appliance or retainer to ease the discomfort and redirect the temporomandibular joint. If the case is severe, invasive procedures may be advised…read more