When the teeth, muscles, and joints are not relating properly, a condition known as TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction) can develop. TMD, in simple terms, is an improper bite position that, over time, causes jaw pain and can lead to other symptoms like chronic neck pain and headaches.
It is not uncommon for people to hear clicks or pops in their jaw joint; however, if it happens regularly and or is associated with pain or locking of the jaw, it could be a sign of TMD. The fact that it is so common is an indication of how many people have jaw disorders that are undiagnosed.
Not all jaw sounds end up being confirmed as TMD, however, but it is important to have them assessed. Difficulty opening and closing the mouth may also be a sign, and earaches or ringing in the ears when there is no infection present, as well as chronic headaches, can all result from jaw problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if your jaw is consistently sore, please book an appointment to see us right away. As with any developing health issue, it is always easier to deal with this before it becomes too advanced.
One of the common causes of TMD Disorders is an injury. If you experience head and neck trauma during an accident or sports injury, you really need to pay attention to see if you develop TMD symptoms. Please contact our office if you have any concerns. Note also that damage to the jaw joint during sporting activities can often be prevented or minimized by wearing an appropriately fitted sports mouth guard – feel free to ask us about custom sports mouthguards.
Arthritis can damage the jaw joint and stretch or tear muscle ligaments, causing the cartilage that functions as the “cushion” to slip out of position.
Clenching or grinding your teeth is a very common cause of jaw problems or damage to teeth that leads to TMD issues.
Not many people realize it, but teeth should only very rarely be pressed together. If you do have problems with TMD we recommend that you try to keep your jaw relaxed, resist clenching and avoid chewing gum, at least until the symptoms subside.
Try to eat foods that are not hard to bite or require a lot of chewing. If clenching or grinding cannot be controlled, or if this happens while you sleep, then a night guard may be a short-term solution to ease the tension in your jaw.
Habitual slouching or hunching over will cause the lower jaw to shift forward. In chronic cases of poor posture, the upper and lower teeth may cease to fit together properly.
Since TMD is so complex, it is necessary to identify the causes of it to identify the most appropriate treatment. Sometimes it is necessary to coach the patient to alter behavior. If, on the other hand, a recent injury has created the problem, we will make sure no further damage is created and then work to correct the problem.
Our first concern when treating TMD is to relieve muscle spasm and joint pain. Usually, a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant will accomplish this. To prevent damage due to clenching and grinding, we will build a night guard that will be both effective and comfortable to wear.
There are a variety of ways to correct your bite and alleviate TMD symptoms. Four of the most common of these approaches are outlined below:
We invite you to book an appointment at Memorial Square Dental Clinic today. Our team of dental professionals in Calgary, NE, Alberta, look forward to the opportunity to answer any of your concerns about TMD Disorders and to meet all of your family’s dental needs.