You have two joints that connect your skull to your lower jaw. Like a hinge, these joints let you open and close your mouth. They’re called temporomandibular joints or TMJ for short. When these joints or the muscles around them aren’t working as they should, it’s called TMD or temporomandibular disorder. What causes TMJ problems? How is this disorder treated?
What Causes TMD?
There are a variety of causes for TMD, including chronic teeth grinding, arthritis, or an injury. If you deal with stress by clenching your teeth and jaw muscles a lot, it could develop into TMD. We may not discover the exact reason for your TMD, but we can still effectively treat it. Who tends to get TMD? Women experience symptoms more than men, but anyone can have TMJ problems.
Symptoms of TMD
When a dentist checks for TMD, they’ll look for symptoms like:
- Tenderness or pain in your jaw
- A jaw that pops when you open and close your mouth
- Ear pain
- Difficulty chewing
- A jaw that locks
- Frequent neck stiffness, headaches, and/or dizziness
TMD symptoms can be mild at first, but if you don’t treat the issues, the discomfort and pain usually get worse over time. Long-term, TMD can lead to sleep disorders, joint damage, pain in your head and upper body, and even hearing loss. As soon as we diagnose TMD, Dr. Chandler will want to start treatment.
Treating TMD at Chandler Dental Center
There are quite a few ways to treat TMD. Breaking habits like gum-chewing and nail-biting can help, while jaw exercises can strengthen your joints. To relieve pain associated with TMD, over-the-counter medications are a good place to start. Since many people with TMD clench their jaws while they sleep, wearing a mouthguard can make a big difference. At our San Antonio office, we offer custom mouthguards that prevent grinding and jaw clenching. If you suspect you have TMD or it’s just been a while since your last visit, please contact us to make an appointment!
This post was written by Chandler Dental Center