Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a good workout during the day as you speak, chew, swallow and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement and hamper the simple enjoyment of eating.
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
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to stop TMD in its tracks, or to prevent it from occurring at the get-go:
- Relax your face — remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin resting in your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight and shoulders squared