Temporomandibular disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. This disorder is often incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint.
The cause of TMD is not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck-such as from a heavy blow or whiplash- can cause TMD.
Other possible causes include:
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- 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 teeth
People with TMD can experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or last for many years. More women than men experience TMD, and TMD is seen most commonly in people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Common Symptoms for TMD include:
- Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Limited ability to open the mouth wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “locked” in open or closed mouth position
- Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw jcint when opening or closing the mouth
- A tired feeling in the face
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite- as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of the face
- May occur on one or both sides of the face
Other common symptoms of TMD include, toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, ear aches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears.
At our office, Dr. Byrd will do an examination and possibly a panoramic x-ray to determine if you have TMD problems. Treatment options vary depending on your situation. NTI device or medications may be prescribed depending on your needs.
NTI is a mouth piece that we custom fit to your dentition. The device is worn at night when you sleep to stop you from grinding and clenching your teeth.
If you experience TMD symptoms, let us know at your next appointment. Let us restore your mouth to good health.