Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial pain as well as severe, recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.
Your “jaw joints” connect your lower jawbone to your skull via a “hinge” that consists of a disc as well as muscles and ligaments. These joints receive constant movement throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even become restricted or lock.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, let us know at your next appointment. Dr. Dunn can help determine if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD
If you feel you might have TMD, it is worthwhile to see Dr. Dunn for an evaluation. However, not all jaw pain is associated with TMD and there are many different preventive options to maintain a healthy joint.
- Relax your face — “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid all gum chewing
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin resting on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
It is estimated that approximately 30% of the population will experience jaw joint problems during their lifetime.