Many people experience chronic facial pain, difficulty chewing, and limited jaw function resulting from a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. But what exactly is TMD, and can you do about it? Here are five things to know.
5. TMJ versus TMD. TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, where the lower jaw hinges to the skull. Problems with this joint are called temporomandibular joint disorders, or just TMDs.
4. TMD can cause serious problems. TMD can cause severe pain making it difficult to eat, speak, or use the jaw normally. The jaw might also become locked in the open or closed position.
3. It can be difficult to diagnose TMD. Many other conditions — toothaches and sinus problems, for example, cause similar symptoms. That’s why it’s best to consult a medical professional such as your doctor or dentist if you have TMD symptoms.
2. A range of treatments is available. Treatment should start with conservative therapies such as heat or ice packs, soft foods, and gentle stretching exercises. Later, it may progress to medications and/or bite appliances. Orthodontics or oral surgery is rarely needed.
1. Support and education are important. Because treatment protocols are evolving, people who suffer from TMDs need to become educated health care consumers. Support groups also have many resources to offer.
If you believe you suffer from TMJ or TMD, schedule your appointment today at Affinity Dental Clinics.