Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)

Do the muscles in your face feel tired? Does your jaw feel sore when you bite down or chew? Do you hear a popping, clicking, or grinding sound when you open your mouth, when you speak, or when you chew? Does one or both of your ears ache? Then you just might be suffering from what is commonly referred to as TMD.

TMJ is an abbreviation for Temporomandibular joint. This joint is located just in front of both of your ears and connects your bottom jaw with your skull. The TMJ a hinge joint that allows you to open and close your mouth, speak, and chew.

Much like your knee joint, the TMJ is divided into two parts by a disc. The disc serves as a buffer between the jaw bone and the skull. It is strong, yet flexible, and keeps the joint balanced. The joint is also made up of muscle, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and other tissues.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunctions (TMD) encompass a multitude of issues affecting your jaw joint, facial muscles, neck and nearby nerves. Early diagnosis is key to success in this treatment. We use recordings of your jaw position in space, can auscult your TMJ with the Doppler, and will likely send you for an MRI to get proper imaging of the level of injury to your joint.

Here are the possible symptoms:

  • Back pain
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Clicking or cracking joints
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty biting the teeth together
  • Facial pain
  • Migraines
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Swelling on one side of the face
  • Teeth very short or very worn
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Tired facial muscles

Treatments can include a bite splint, dental rehabilitation (ex. replace missing teeth and correcting the occlusion), orthodontics, joint surgery and chiropractic adjustments. Your dentist will evaluate the best option for you according to the stage and severity of your dysfunction.

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