TMJ or Temporomandibular Joints are the facial joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The TMJ is present on either side of the face and can be located in front of the ears. They are responsible for all movements of the jaws, such as biting, chewing, talking, laughing, yawning, etc.
What is TMD?
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and is an inflammatory condition of the TMJ. It is caused when the TMJs are stressed due to repetitive movement of the jaws and when the surrounding muscles remain in a stressed state for a long time. Due to this, the movement of the jaws become strained and painful, thereby affecting your everyday activities.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
- Extreme difficulty in moving the jaw, especially while consuming food
- Pain near the muscles of the TMJ
- Limited movement of the lower jaw
- Popping or clicking sound when you move the jaw
- Persistent headaches, especially soon after waking up in the morning
- Swelling near the TMJ
How can TMD be treated?
Regularly massaging the muscles of the TMJ is a simple yet effective means of treating TMD. This relieves the muscles of the stress and makes the movement of the jaw easier. Patients can also make subtle changes to their everyday routine, such as avoiding frequent snacking, staying wary of subconscious jaw clenching, making changes to the posture while sleeping, avoiding holding the phone between the head and shoulder while on call, etc. If these means do not provide enough relief, you can visit a dentist to treat the condition more effectively.
The dentist will conduct a thorough diagnosis and determine the root cause of the condition. As a treatment, an oral appliance called the night-time mouthguard may be suggested. Patients can wear it before going to bed, and the mouthguard keeps the teeth from both jaws from coming in contact. This avoids excessive wear as well as reduces the stress applied to the muscles around the TMJ. If these treatment methods are not effective, oral surgery may be the last resort option to treat a TMD.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (408) 830-0123 to have a consultation with our dentists, and we will be happy to help.