TMJ or the Temporomandibular Joint is the connecting joint between the upper and the lower jawbones. The joint is a very delicate one and excessive pressure applied on it could lead to complications, termed as TMD or Temporomandibular joint disorder.
Every year, millions of Americans complain of TMD, which includes pain in the jaws, face, neck and even the shoulders. The conditions could get so worse that the patient would experience a lot of pain even while chewing food or yawning. So what could be the reasons that lead to TMD?
Common causes of TMD
- Conscious or subconscious clenching of the jaws.
- Excessive movement of the tissues in the TMJ.
- External trauma to the joint or the surrounding region.
- Stress in the jaw muscles.
Symptoms of TMD
- Severe pain in the jaws, facial muscles, neck, and the surrounding muscles.
- Pain and ringing sound in the ears.
- Frequent headaches, especially as soon as one wakes up from sleep.
- Clicking or popping sound while moving the jaw, indicating troubled movement.
- Limited movement of the jaw. Sometimes, the patient may experience a lockjaw.
- Sudden convulsions (sudden movements or jerks) in the jaws.
- In severe cases, the alignment of the jaw may change.
It is best to get TMD treated in the earlier stages as it is easier to diagnose and treat the condition. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, visit Dr. Heshmat’s practice immediately to get it diagnosed.
How can TMD be treated?
TMD can be accurately diagnosed using advanced medical equipment. Once the doctor confirms the presence of TMD, the patient can adhere to the following practices that help control the disorder.
- Relax the facial muscles. The lesser the stress on the Temporomandibular joint, the better the chances of you overcoming TMD. So avoid clenching the jaws, as it would apply pressure on the joint. A simple rule to follow is ‘Lips together, teeth apart’.
- Avoid frequent snacking and chewing gum. This reduces the movement of the jaws, thereby reducing the strain on the muscles of the joint.
- If you have a problem of clenching your teeth in your sleep, ask your doctor to provide you with an over-night mouth guard. This prevents the grinding of the teeth as well as excessive stress on the TMJ.
- Chew food on either side of the mouth. Chewing only on one side could apply more stress on one side of the jaw compared to the other.
- Avoid holding the phone between your head and your shoulder while on call. Use earphones instead.
Simple changes to one’s everyday habits can impact big on overcoming TMD. Dr. Heshmat is one of the best when it comes to treating issues related to TMJ. Reach out to us today and get your TMD treated immediately before it gets too painful.