TMJD Q & A
What is TMJD?
TMJD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that causes pain in your jaw joint – including the muscles and ligaments that control movement in your jaw. Your jaw joint acts like a sliding hinge, allowing you to yawn, swallow, talk, and chew properly. TMJD develops when parts of the jaw aren’t working the way they’re supposed to.
What are the symptoms of TMJD?
If you have TMJD, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Stiff jaw muscles
- Pain that travels through your neck, face, or jaw
- Jaw tenderness
- Aching ear or facial pain
- Limited jaw movement
- Locking of your jaw
- Popping or clicking in your jaw
- Changes in your bite
- Pain or difficulty while chewing
If you experience one or more TMJD symptoms, Dr. Kirby evaluates you to determine how severe your condition is and whether you’d benefit from TMJD treatment.
What causes TMJD?
The exact cause of TMJD isn’t entirely clear. It might be due to:
- Jaw injury
- Jaw dislocation
- Tooth and jaw misalignment
- Genetic factors
- Jaw clenching
- Teeth grinding
Regardless of the cause, Dr. Kirby creates a treatment plan that enhances comfort, eases pain, and reduces other side effects associated with TMJD.
What is the treatment for TMJD?
TMJD pain may go away on its own without treatment. If you experience pain or other side effects, Dr. Kirby may recommend:
Making simple lifestyle changes may help ease pain associated with TMJD. Examples include eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum and sticky foods, and not biting your nails.
If jaw tension causes TMJD pain, Dr. Kirby may recommend relaxation techniques to control it, such as biofeedback or meditation. Acupuncture has also helped some patients.
Heat or ice packs
Using heat or ice packs (or both) helps ease discomfort associated with TMJD.
Doing facial strengthening and stretching exercises can ease pain and improve the way your jaw functions.
Facial massage often helps ease muscle tension and pain associated with TMJD.
If teeth grinding exacerbates TMJD, Dr. Kirby may recommend a bite plate or night guard to reduce clenching and grinding.
Dental or orthodontic treatment
For a misaligned bite associated with TMJD, Dr. Kirby may recommend orthodontic treatment or reshaping some of your teeth.
If natural TMJD remedies for pain relief haven’t worked for you, Dr. Kirby can prescribe medications to ease pain and relax tense muscles.
Surgery might be the last resort in extreme TMJD cases. Dr. Kirby lets you know if you’re a good candidate for dental surgery and what to expect during the procedure.
When you’re ready to ease TMJD pain and restore your quality of life, call Kirby Dentistry today or book an appointment online.