Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
- Sounds. These are clicking, popping, or grating sounds when chewing or moving the jaw to open or close the mouth. This may or may not cause pain.
- Pain. TMD can cause localized pain in one or both jaw joints or in the jaw muscles, which may be more pronounced while chewing. TMD can also cause referred pain in the ear, face, and behind the eyes.
- Limited mobility. TMD can limit your jaw’s range of motion and function. In most serious cases, TMD can also cause the jaws to get stuck in the open or closed position (known as jaw locking).
- Unexplainable symptoms. TMD can also cause symptoms that don’t seem related to jaw issues, such as headaches, toothaches, earaches, dizziness, neck and upper shoulder pain, hearing problems, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
The TMJ is a complex joint and TMD is a complex disorder. TMD may be caused by one or more of the following conditions:
- Injury or trauma to your jaw, face, head, or neck
- Neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) dysfunction
- A misaligned or “bad” bite (malocclusion)
- Arthritis of the TMJ
- Certain oral habits, such as biting your lips, clenching your teeth, or grinding your teeth (bruxism).
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Muscle tension
TMD can be caused by multiple factors. And because every patient is unique, TMD treatment should always be tailored to address your symptoms, their underlying causes, and your individual needs. As part of your comprehensive treatment plan, one of our dentists will help you determine whether one or more of the following treatment options may be right for you.
- Medications. Over-the-counter medications may be able to help you ease pain and reduce inflammation.
- Oral appliance. Wearing a small appliance (such as a night guard or splint) inside the mouth while sleeping can decrease clenching and grinding, thereby easing muscle and joint strain.
- Botox. As it temporarily inhibits the neurotransmitters that tell muscles to contract, Botox injections may alleviate TMD symptoms by reducing tension, decreasing pain, and improving jaw mobility.
- Stress management. As stress can cause muscle tension and teeth-clenching, adopting stress management strategies may help reduce symptoms of TMD.
The symptoms caused by TMD can be uncomfortable, painful, and disruptive to your daily activities and quality of life. We’re here to help you find relief. Contact us today if you have any concerns about your jaw health or function.
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