Have you ever experienced excruciating pain in your mouth or been stuck in a situation where you were unable to open or close your jaw? This usually happens due to a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Patients with this condition experience a lot of pain when they try to move their jaw. It usually affects only one side of the jaw and is treatable by a dental professional.
Causes of TMD
Many factors can cause this condition. Some of them are:
Bruxism or teeth grinding: This is caused by the subconscious grinding of teeth, especially during sleep. It can change the bite and can shorten your teeth due to excessive wear.
Misalignment of teeth: If your teeth are wrongly positioned, it will lead to a misaligned bite. Malocclusion can apply severe stresses on the TMJs and induce pain in the jaws, neck, and shoulders.
Excessive chewing: Individuals who constantly chew on things, such as pen caps, chewing gum, etc. stand a higher chance of suffering TMD.
Stress: Sometimes, simple actions like yawning or singing make your jaw open too wide, which may also lead to fatigued facial muscles. Mental stress can also contribute to this condition, but it differs from person to person depending on what they do when they are stressed out (grinding teeth, nail-biting, etc.).
What are the signs and symptoms of TMD?
- TMD causes a lot of pain and inflammation that reduces the mobility of the joints connecting the jaw.
- Pain in the face, neck, head, and shoulders is common.
- Teeth grinding, chronic migraines, hearing problems, and jaw dislocation.
- Blurred vision and popping sound in your jaw while you chew food.
- Lockjaw, where the patient finds it difficult to move the jaw, as it feels like it is locked in one position.
How can TMD be treated?
Firstly, you will have to visit your dentist to determine the cause of TMD. If it is due to a misaligned bite (malocclusion), your dentist will treat it by suggesting the right orthodontic aligner. Making a few changes to your everyday routine can reduce the severity of TMD. Some of them are avoiding chewing gum, frequent snacking, clenching the jaws, etc. Also, you may massage the area near the facial joints to relieve the muscles of the stress.
Patients with severe symptoms would require anti-inflammatory medications, which would help in reducing the inflammation. Massage therapy may help in relieving the tension and tightness caused due to hyperactive or hypoactive muscles. The dentist may also suggest a nighttime mouth guard to keep your teeth from excessive wear and avoid the muscles from getting stressed. Surgical procedures may be required if the non-invasive methods fail to work.
To have a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Pyle, please schedule an online appointment or call us at (765) 288-6121, and we will be happy to help.