Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. It is characterized by pain and difficulty when performing activities like talking, eating, laughing, singing, and yawning. Below, we share how to identify TMJ dysfunction and give an overview of available options for managing it.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jawbone to the skull, enabling you to move your jaw smoothly up, down, side-to-side, and forward and back. TMJ disorder occurs when there is inflammation or damage in this joint. It can be caused by various factors, including jaw misalignment, teeth grinding (bruxism), stress, arthritis, and/or injury to the jaw.
Common Signs and Symptoms of TMD
The manifestation of TMJ issues can vary in intensity from patient to patient. Generally, some common signs to look out for include:
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth fully
- Clicking or popping sounds when moving the jaw
- Facial pain that can radiate to the neck and upper back
- Jaw locking or getting stuck
Ways to Treat TMJ Dysfunction
Treatment for TMJ issues depends on the severity and underlying cause of the disorder. It can include a combination of self-care practices and professional interventions. Some common treatment options include:
- Applying heat or cold packs
- Practicing relaxation techniques
- Avoiding hard or chewy foods
- Performing gentle jaw exercises
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Wearing a nightguard to prevent teeth grinding
- Correcting jaw alignment with orthodontics
- Improving with strength and flexibility of the jaw muscles with special exercises and stretches
TMD Treatment in Hermitage, TN
Identifying TMJ dysfunction early and seeking proper management can give you relief from discomfort and prevent additional damage to your joints. So if you suspect you have TMJ issues, please contact Hermitage Dental Group in Hermitage, TN, to schedule an appointment.