We see many clients that suffer from a painful disorder Known as Temporomandibular Joint disorder. Although the true underlying cause is often unknown,dentists believe the symptoms often arise from problems with the muscles in your jaw, or with parts of the joint itself.

Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull,which are just in front of each ear. It allows the jaw to move up and down and side to side,so you can talk,chew and yawn. Problems with your jaw, and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).You may have heard it wrongly called TMJ,after the joint.

Injury to your jaw,the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck, from a heavy blow or whiplash can lead to TMD.

Other possible causes include:

– Grinding or clenching your teeth,which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
– Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and the socket of the joint
– Arthritis in the joint
– Stress,which can cause you to tighten the facial and jaw muscles ,or clenching your teeth.

What are some common symptoms?

TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort,which be can temporary or last many years.It might effect one or both sides of your face.Generally, more woman are diagnosed with it than men,and it is most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Common symptoms include:

– Pain or tenderness in your face,jaw joint area,neck and shoulders,and in and around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
– Your jaw get’s “stuck”, or “locks” in the open or closed mouth position.
– Clicking, popping,or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful
– A tired feeling in your face
– Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together.
– Swelling on the side of your face

How is TMD generally treated?

The treatment protocol may change according to your specific needs,but generally speaking treatment would include:
– Acupuncture
– Heat and ice
– Ultrasound
– Joint mobilization and strengthening exercises
– Postural exercises
– Eating softer foods and avoiding chewing gum
– Avoiding grinding with the use of a mouth guard
– Electrical stimulation
– Stress management techniques

This is an excellent link to some exercises and tips to try at home for some relief