Do you experience pain in your jaw? Are you having a hard time biting or chewing? Do you hear any clicking or popping sounds in your jaw? You may have temporomandibular jaw disorder, otherwise known as TMD. Harbor Point Dental Group will help you overcome any discomfort in your jaw, and help you determine if you may have TMD.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular jaw disorders is often referred to as TMD. These disorders (TMD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. These disorders are often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint.
What Is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. It is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side. This joint enables you to talk, chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.
The Causes & Symptoms of TMD
The cause of TMD is not clear, but our dentists here at Harbor Point Dental Group believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck can cause TMD. A heavy blow or whiplash can cause injury to the jaw.
Other possible causes include:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ
- Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket
- Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
- Stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area
- Pain in the neck and shoulders
- Pain in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Pain around your eyes and sensitivity to sunlight
- Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth and when chewing
- A tired feeling in the face
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Headaches and dizziness
- Earaches, hearing problems and ringing in the ears
Our dentists here at Harbor Point Dental Group will examine your jaw for pain or tenderness, along with listening for clicking, popping or grating sounds during movement. If you are diagnosed with TMD, Harbor Point Dental Group will ensure that we provide you with the best treatment.
Treatment Options for TMD at Harbor Point Dental Group
Treatments for temporomandibular joint disorders can range from simple to invasive, depending on the severity. Below, we provide a list of possible treatments that range from recommended at home remedies, to possible corrective treatments.
- Apply an ice pack to the side of your face and temple area for about 10 minutes.
- Eat soft foods such as yogurt, soups, or mashed potatoes. Also, cut foods, especially red meats, into smaller pieces so your jaw does not have to work as hard to break down food.
- Do not rest your chin on your hand or hold the telephone between your shoulder and ear to reduce neck pain.
- Keep extreme jaw movements, like yawning, to a minimum.
- Keep your teeth slightly apart, and avoid clenching your teeth.
Remedies Given by Our Dentists at Harbor Point Dental Group
- Wear a splint or night gard, a plastic mouthpiece that fits over the upper and lower teeth and prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming together.
- Jaw relaxation techniques taught to you by our Harbor Point Dentists.
- Medications administered by our dentists.
- Low-level laser therapy to reduce pain and inflammation as well as increase mobility in your temporomandibular joint.
- Undergoing corrective dental treatments with one of our dentists or our Harbor Point Dental Group specialists who are in our offices five days a week.
If you have any questions about temporomandibular joint disorders, or you think you may have any of the symptoms we listed here, talk to us at Harbor Point Dental Group. Our friendly and helpful staff will gladly answer all of your questions. You can also schedule an exam appointment and talk to our dentists to determine possible diagnosis of TMD and your treatment options. At Harbor Point Dental Group we care about the overall health of our patients, and we will always provide you with the knowledge you need to keep your smile pain-free, healthy and happy.