Grosse Pointe & Shelby Township


Get Rid of that Pain in the Jaw with TMD/TMJ Treatment

Woman suffering from jaw pain related to TMD - tmd/tmj treatmentTemporomandibular Disorder, or TMD (formerly known as TMJ) – it’s is a mouthful to say, but it can be a mouthful of pain for those who suffer from it. The symptoms of TMD vary widely, as well as the causes. Luckily, there are many TMD/TMJ treatment options available, so the pain in your jaw can stop disrupting your life.

What Is TMD/TMJ and What Causes It?

TMD is kind of a catch-all description for pain that occurs in the temporomandibular joint – the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. When that joint isn’t working the way it should, it can result in generalized jaw or chewing pain. Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck can lead to TMD. Other causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding) caused by stress, an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth, or sleep apnea.

What Are the Symptoms Of TMD/TMJ?

The symptoms of TMD are even more varied than the causes of the disorder. TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort, which It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men suffer from TMD, and it most frequently occurs among people between the ages of 20 and 40.

How can you tell if you have TMD? You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew, which may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Pain or tenderness in your face or swelling on one or both sides of your face
  • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide, or your jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of your face

There are some not-so- common symptoms of TMD, as well. You may also have toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

How Is TMD/TMJ Diagnosed?

If you suspect you suffer from TMD, the first person to consult is your dentist. He or she will check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and listen for clicks, pops, or grating sounds when you move them. Your dentist will also check for bite issues and possible problems with your facial muscles. X-rays or CT or MRI scans may also be taken to assist with diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.

What Are Some TMD/TMJ Treatment Options?

There are several ways you can treat mild TMD symptoms.

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers and/or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Use moist heat or cold packs on the side of your face for up to 10 minutes at a time
  • Perform simple jaw stretches throughout the day – your dentist can show you how
  • Eat soft foods and use smaller bites until the pain subsides
  • Try to avoid extreme jaw movements, like yawning or singing
  • Don’t rest your chin on your hand, or hold your phone between your shoulder and ear
  • Keep your teeth slightly apart to rest your jaws
  • Learn relaxation techniques

If your TMD symptoms are more severe, your dentist can prescribe higher doses of pain relievers and/or anti-inflammatory medications. If your jaw pain is stress related, he or she may also prescribe a muscle relaxer or anti-anxiety medication.

In addition, your dentist may fit you with a dental splint or night guard to properly align your jaws and prevent bruxism. If a bite problem is causing your TMD symptoms, your dentist can replace missing teeth with a crown, or use bridges or braces to help jaw alignment.

Think You May Suffer from TMD/TMJ?

Pointe Dental Group specializes in TMD/TMJ treatment. Our experts can answer all your questions about this disorder and discuss your treatment options. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Grosse Pointe Farms: (313) 881-2480

Shelby Township: (586) 803-8300

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