TMJ disorders (TMD)
The cause of TMD is not always clear, we know that the symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Common symptoms include…
- Pain or tenderness in jaw joint area and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide. May occur on one or both sides.
- Jaws that lock in the open or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite
- Limited ability to open wide
- Grinding or clenching the teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
- 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
- Trauma to the jaw, TMJ or muscles of the head and neck – such as from a heavy blow or whiplash – can cause TMD.
- Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting
Jaw rest: It can be beneficial to keep the teeth apart as much as possible. Avoid eating hard, chewy, or crunchy foods such as harder raw vegetables, nuts or foods that require opening the mouth widely. Pre-chopping or blending these foods can allow for their consumption
Heat and ice therapy: These assist in reducing muscle tension and spasm. However, immediately after an injury to the TMJ, treatment with cold pack applications is best.
Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen , or steroids can help control inflammation. Muscle relaxants, such as diazepam aids in decreasing muscle spasm.
The treatment of chronic TMD can involve Physical therapy, Stress management, Occlusal therapy (a custom-made acrylic appliance such as a mouth guard) or Corrective Dental Therapy. Surgery is used only in extreme cases as a last resort.