Facts About TMD

Posted on behalf of Manhattan Dental Design,
Woman Holding Her Jaw in Pain New York NY

Did you know that your headaches, jaw pain and even ear pain can be traced to back to TMJ problems. TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is responsible for the action of biting down or opening and closing your mouth. This joint, as well as the nerves, muscles and tissues that support it, gets worked countless times a day as you eat, speak, laugh and even yawn. Unfortunately, the TMJ can become inflamed, irritated or strained – which leads to many disruptive symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder).

To help you understand why you are experiencing the symptoms of a jaw disorder and how to treat it, here are some FAQs on TMD:

What are the symptoms of TMD?

The symptoms of TMD can vary from person to person, and they can range from a mild annoyance to a severe impairment of the jaw.  Some symptoms may stay local within your teeth or jaw, while others may affect your face, head or neck. According to Delta Dental, the symptoms of TMD can include the following:

  • pain in or around the ear
  • headaches and neck aches
  • tenderness of the jaw or jaw muscles
  • jaw pain or soreness that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
  • jaw pain when chewing, biting or yawning
  • difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
  • sensitive teeth when no other dental problems can be found

What causes TMD?

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) can develop due to a variety of conditions that affect the jaw joints on either side of your head as well as the surrounding muscles and nerves. TMD may occur if your jaw twists improperly during opening, closing or side-to-side movements. Patients may suffer from TMD after a sudden jaw injury. However, TMD can frequently be traced back to a teeth grinding habit, arthritis or misaligned bite that is putting unnecessary force on this important joint.

Does stress cause TMD?

In many cases, stress does play a major role in TMJ problems. This is due to the fact that many people grind their teeth (bruxism) or clench their teeth during times of stress or anxiety. It most often happens subconsciously or during nighttime sleep. Unfortunately, this can significantly aggravate the TMJ and lead to chronic discomfort.

How can a dentist help?

First and foremost, your dentist will give you an accurate diagnosis of your TMD. This can be accomplished through a series of simple tests and x-rays. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, there are many treatment options available depending on what is causing your particular case of TMD. If orthodontic correction or jaw surgery is not necessary, your TMD may be effectively managed by simply wearing an oral appliance at night to allow your jaw muscles to rest. For patients that wake up with tension headaches, a TMD nightguard is an excellent solution.

If you suspect that you have a jaw disorder, please call Manhattan Dental Design. We understand how disruptive TMJ symptoms can be and we are here to help improve your quality of life with an effective treatment plan.

Posted on behalf of Manhattan Dental Design