Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects millions of Americans, causing chronic pain in the face, neck, and severe recurring headaches. TMD primarily affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), which connect the lower jawbone to the skull. These joints are in constant use as you engage in daily activities such as speaking, chewing, swallowing, and yawning. Pain and discomfort in and around the TMJs can significantly impact your quality of life, restricting movement and causing unpleasant symptoms.

Recognizing the Symptoms of TMD

Identifying the symptoms of TMD is crucial in seeking appropriate treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sounds when the jaw moves
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • Changes in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to inform your doctor during your next appointment. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your situation and determine if you have TMD.

If diagnosed with TMD, a customized treatment plan will be created to alleviate your symptoms and improve your condition.

Not all jaw pain is related to TMD

Consult your orthodontist if you suspect TMD, but not all jaw pain is due to TMD. If TMD is ruled out, you can take these preventative measures:

  • Relax your face with “Lips together, teeth apart” mantra.
  • Avoid teeth grinding
  • Refrain from chewing gum
  • Use a headset or hold the phone to your ear instead of cradling it between your head and shoulder.
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Avoid resting your chin on your hand
  • Maintain good posture: head up, back straight, shoulders squared.

TMD symptoms can be experienced with or without braces, and may change over time. Contact us for a consultation and guidance on treatment.

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