People who suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as severe, recurring headaches may have a culprit to blame, Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. As you can imagine, these joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you use them to speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be very uncomfortable and may even lead to restricted movement.
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 experience any of these symptoms, notify the doctor at your next appointment. Your doctor determines if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.
Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD.
If you suspect you may have TMD, it is necessary to be examined by a qualified professional. Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD. However, if you are at risk for developing TMD, your doctor can explain the preventive steps you can take to maintain a healthy, strong smile.
- 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 rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and think you may have TMD, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.