Are You Struggling With Jaw Pain?
TMD can be a painful condition but one that is easily fixed by visiting your dentist for treatment options.
Temporomandibular disorder affects the function and movement of the jaw. The condition is more common with women than men, and tends to affect those aged between 20 and 40 years old. If you experience pain or problems with your jaw, such as popping or clicking when you move it, then TMD could be the cause. Learn more about this painful and frustrating condition and explore your treatment options.
How Does The Jaw Work?
Temporomandibular disorder relates to the temporomandibular joint which is connected from your jawbone to the temporal bones, located in front of each of your ears. The joint acts like a hinge and enables your jaw to open and close which is essential for eating, chewing, yawning and talking. A person is able to move their joint both up and down, but also side to side.
Symptoms of TMD
Pain will usually be the first symptom of TMD that you experience, as it radiates out from your face and jaw. It can commonly extend into your neck and shoulder areas too, as well as the ear. The pain may worsen when you need to use your jaw for eating, speaking or opening your mouth up wide.
Other symptoms of TMD may be more subtle, including tiredness in your face, or a jaw that appears to be temporarily stuck in either the closed or open positions. Any clicking or grinding noises as you operate your jaw are also tell-tale signs that there may be a problem present.
Causes of TMD
There are a variety of causes of temporomandibular disorder. These may include any type of trauma to the face, for example if you have been in an accident or been on the receiving end of a punch to the jaw. Stress linked to teeth grinding may also be responsible; in this case, you may wake up in the morning with a sore jaw, indicating that it has been working hard whilst you were asleep. However, one of the lesser known causes of TMD is having an uneven bite.
Dental occlusion problems occur when your top and bottom teeth aren’t quite aligned correctly. You may have an overbite, underbite or front teeth that touch when you’re biting down.
If you have any symptoms relating to the jaw area, then visit your dentist in the first instance so they can assess the condition of your teeth. They will be able to check your alignment and determine if teeth grinding or bruxism is a contributory factor to your TMD. They will be able to suggest treatment options including teeth straightening, adjustments, replacements or just something as simple as wearing a bite guard when you sleep at night. If you’re in a lot of pain, they may also be able to prescribe you with strong painkillers to alleviate your symptoms.
Remember too, that stress can play a role in TMD, so you may need to address any psychological issues and find ways to relax better.
TMD can be a temporary condition, but it can also develop into a long-term problem if you don’t seek treatment options. Don’t suffer in silence, get in touch with your dentist today.