TMD, often referred to as TMJ, stands for temporomandibular disorder, relating to problems with the jaw and muscles in the face that control it.
While researchers aren’t sure what causes TMD, dentists believe symptoms arise from problems that are within the muscles or the jaw, or with the parts of the joint itself. There are certain factors that can lead to TMD, like an injury to the jaw, joint or muscles in the head and neck, such as from whiplash or a heavy blow. Grinding or clenching the teeth, arthritis in the joint, stress and movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint are other possible causes.
If you have TMD, you probably already know that the condition can cause severe pain. The discomfort is sometimes temporary, though it can last for many years. It may affect one or both sides of the face. It is more common in women, and among those who are between the ages of 20 and 40.
TMD can negatively affect your well-being in a number of ways, such as causing swelling on the side of your face, make chewing more difficult, causing pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area, face, neck and shoulders as well as in or around your ear when you speak, chew or just open your mouth wide.
Fortunately, going to Dr. Medwid, your Stuart dentist can help.
If you’ve not been diagnosed with TMD, diagnosis is the important first step, as other dental problems like a toothache or sinus condition can cause similar symptoms. Your Stuart dentist will go over your symptoms in addition to performing a simple examination of your face and jaw in order to determine if TMD is the issue.
The dentist will then recommend the type of treatment needed for your particular issue including options for reducing pain, such as taking an anti-inflammatory, applying moist heat, resting the joint or even practicing relaxation techniques to help you manage stress better. Sometimes a nightguard is prescribed to prevent the teeth from grinding during sleep. If your teeth are poorly aligned, some adjustment may be needed, including orthodontic treatment.
The good news is that by making an appointment with your Stuart dentist, Rita Medwid, you don’t have to live with the pain and frustration of TMD.