On each side of your head, you have a series of joints and muscles that help you open and close your mouth. These joints are called temporomandibular joints, or TMJs.
Some people have a disorder in this area that is called a temporomandibular disorder or TMD. You may hear both TMJ and TMD used interchangeably. TMD can be caused by stress, arthritis, teeth grinding, poor jaw alignment, dislocation, or other facial injuries.
Symptoms of TMD
This set of joints and muscles is complex. They work closely with several other groups of muscles and joints, making the symptoms of TMD quite surprising to some. Symptoms of this disorder include:
- Facial swelling.
- Hearing problems.
- Ringing in your ears (tinnitus).
- Trouble chewing.
- Fatigue in your facial muscles.
- Jaw stuck open or closed.
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide.
- A feeling as though your upper and lower teeth do not fit together.
- Pain/tenderness in your jaw, ears, neck, or shoulders as you speak or chew.
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds coming from your jaw, whether or not it feels painful.
TMD cannot be diagnosed based on this list alone, as many of these symptoms can be attributed to other causes. Your healthcare team will need to take images of your head and jaw to see whether the joints are properly aligned.
We focus on your overall care, so we will help you explore multiple options for treatment. Depending on the severity of your TMD symptoms,we may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
- Splints/night guards.
- Dental work.
- Trigger-point injections.
- Radio wave therapy.
- Low-level laser therapy.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
It is possible to correct TMD using surgery, but this is typically recommended for severe cases only, due to the nature of oral surgery.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TMD, call our office to schedule an appointment. We are prepared to help you correct this disorder and live a better life.