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TMD, short for temporomandibular disorder, affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This is what connects the lower jawbone, also known as the mandible, to your skull. TMD disorder is also referred to as TMJ syndrome, but no matter what you call it, it’s painful.
TMD disorders refer to a group of conditions that lead to pain in and around the TMJ, marked by inflammation and discomfort. TMJ problems make it difficult to speak, eat, swallow, chew, breathe, and make certain facial expressions.
The associated pain can be mild or it can be severe, but it typically occurs near the ear, eyes, neck, mouth, and surrounding muscles that assist you in chewing and talking. You can develop TMD as the result of a repetitive behavior or from injury. Many times, dental problems are to blame, at least as it relates to tooth pain. Anything from a cavity to gum disease can cause pain in the jaw area. Even a non-dental problem, such as a sinus infection, can be the culprit.
Often times, stress plays a big role in dental pain. Many people, when stressed, clench their jaws and grind their teeth.
Most TMJ symptoms are temporary and only last a few weeks or months. In those cases, you may only need something as simple as hot or cold compresses coupled with over-the-counter medications. Even so, always tell your dentist if you are experiencing mouth or jaw pain. There could be underlying problems that may need to be addressed for discomfort to be relieved.
In general, TMJ treatment shouldn’t cause permanent changes to your teeth or jaw. Treatments include:
More extensive treatments include:
It’s important to note that most people with TMJ problems get better without treatment.
Most people report pain (dull ache in jaw joint) with TMJ problems, but others only report jaw dysfunction. Other common symptoms include:
Stress is one of the biggest culprits with TMJ problems, but other times they are caused by jaw injuries, arthritis, certain dental treatments, family history, hormones, infections, and auto-immune diseases.
Here at Studio City Dental Center, we are TMD specialists and can help relieve your symptoms. Contact us at 818-762-2977 to schedule your appointment with us.