What is TMJ?
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, which allows the jaw to move smoothly up and down, and side to side.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) happens as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. The causes of TMD may arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Common symptoms of TMD:
Facial pain, especially in jaw area
Limited ability to open mouth
Jaw gets locked or stuck
Tired feeling in the face and frequent headaches
Difficulty chewing, or a sudden uncomfortable bite
Swelling on the side of the face
Let your doctor know at your next appointment if you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Your doctor can help determine if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to for you.
Treatments such as lifestyle changes and self-help physiotherapy-type treatments are tried first because not all jaw pain is associated with TMD.
There are a number of self-help measures that can help improve TMD:
Avoid clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during sleep
Avoid grinding your teeth
Avoid all gum chewing
Avoid clenching the teeth for long periods of time
Massage the muscles around the joint
Do not rest your chin on your hand
Most cases of TMD improve over time and do not worsen, and most people will not need surgery. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and think you may be a candidate for TMD treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation with us.