TMJ and TMD: Causes, Symptoms, and Possible Treatments

What is TMD?

  • TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, connects your jaw bone to your skull. This is a very important muscle. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. If you feel you may be suffering with TMD, visit your dentist or a specialist to get a true diagnosis and possible treatments. 
How Do I Know If I Have TMD?
  • Symptoms of TMD:
  1. Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  2. Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  3. Aching pain in and around your ear
  4. Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  5. Aching facial pain
  6. Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
If you are feeling a few or all of these symptoms see a doctor immediately.
  • Causes Of TMD:
The temporomandibular joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth
  • Painful TMJ disorders can occur if:
  1. The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
  2. The joint's cartilage is damaged by arthritis
  3. The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact
However, often times the causes of TMD are unclear. People who have had surgery, regularly grind or clench their teeth can be especially at risk of developing TMD.
  • How Can I Treat TMD?
First and Foremost, see a doctor or dentist. Only a highly qualified specialist can know the best possible treatment. You may be prescribed Pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, Tricyclic antidepressants, or muscle relaxants. Do not self prescribe.

  • Custom Night Guard For Teeth Grinding
In many instances, TMD is a symptom of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. If someone with TMD chronically grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw, a dentist may prescribe a custom night guard for teeth grinding to help protect against the harmful effects of teeth grinding. Custom night guards can not cure a teeth grinder of the affliction. However, custom night guards, or custom mouth guards, can greatly improve the sleep and way of life of a teeth grinders. Physical therapy has also been proven to improve the range of motion of the jaw.