A temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is an issue concerning your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You have two TMJs, each located in the area around your ear. These joints help your jaw to act as a hinge when you eat and speak.
The TMJ is a complex joint, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of a problem. But there are a few known conditions that contribute to a TMD.
If the disk in your TMJ slides out of place or erodes, your joint won’t function as it should. It can also cause a TMD if the joint or the joint’s cartilage is damaged.
Some of the most common symptoms of a TMD include:
If you experience these symptoms, you may have an issue with your TMJ. We highly recommend seeking professional help so your condition doesn’t become worse. Call us at 910-692-4051 to let us know your concerns.
Arthritis can cause or worsen conditions in your jawbone, including TMD. Your jaw may be affected differently depending on the type of arthritis you have.
Osteoarthritis destroys cartilage, so your bite may change and lead to TMJ issues. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints, and will likely affect all your other joints before your TMJ. Rheumatoid arthritis of the jaw can lead to misalignment and destruction of the jawbone.
There are many treatment options for a TMD depending on the severity of your condition and your personal preferences. Some of those options include:
Medication: Pain medication, both over-the-counter and prescription, can help to alleviate the discomfort in your jaw, face, ears, and head. Though this isn’t a permanent fix, it can make it easier for you to function on a daily basis.
Mouthguards/Appliances: Customized mouthguards and oral appliances can be worn while you’re asleep to prevent you from grinding your teeth, a condition called bruxism. Bruxism can cause or significantly worsen the effects of a TMD.
If you don't grind your teeth, a mouthguard can still improve the issues in your TMJ
Surgical Procedures: Surgical procedures are often the last resort when it comes to treating a TMD. If no other treatments have improved your condition, your doctor may consider a recommendation for surgery.
In addition to other treatment methods, strengthening the jaw and helping your muscles to relax can often help with symptoms of a TMD.
Physical Therapy: Seeking a professional to help you develop an exercise routine for your TMJ can ensure you’re doing exercises that are targeted to your issues. Strengthening the muscles of your jaw and mouth can reduce your pain.
Stretching and Massaging: TMD can often be worsened by tension in the jaw. Stretches and massages can help to relieve pain and improve the condition of your TMJ.
Relaxation Techniques: Jaw tension can also be relieved by learning relaxation techniques to reduce the overall stress you hold in your body. Yoga and meditation are common ways to relax and relieve stress.
TMD can make eating and speaking painful -- it may be difficult to do the things you love when you’re in pain. Treatment can help to alleviate your pain and help you enjoy your life.
To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at 910-692-4051 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch. We'll be with you right away to answer any questions and discuss your concerns.