TMJ Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, & Relief

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Do you experience pain in your jaw? Have you noticed earaches, headaches, or a popping sound when you move your mouth? The joint that connects your jaw to your skull may be to blame. You might be experiencing a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. If you are concerned about how this condition can affect you or those who suffer from it, keep reading; we’ll explain you the common causes for TMD and how to remedy the condition:



There are a variety of reasons why this disorder occurs. TMD can result after a physical injury, like a car accident. In some cases, it’s caused by stress. It also occurs in people with arthritis. Para-functional habits like teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), can lead to this disorder. A misaligned jaw or teeth are another cause. It can result from excessive gum chewing, which puts stress on the joint. Those who have infections or autoimmune diseases experience higher rates of TMD. This disorder is known to occur more commonly in women than men - researchers are investigating a hormonal cause for TMD, specifically to do with fluctuating levels of estrogen



The most telltale sign of a TMJ disorder is when the person experiences pain in the jaw, specifically when moving it. Migraines, headaches, backaches, and neck aches are also symptoms. TMD causes a sound when the mouth opens, and people with it will hear a noise when they eat or talk. This noise occurs with people who don’t have TMD, too - the difference is when it comes along with restricted movement or pain. People with this disorder experience difficulty talking. This is because the movement of the jaw is restricted. Sufferers of TMD disorder often experience a numbness, and ringing or buzzing in their ears. Earaches are also common. 



In some cases, this disorder can resolve itself on its own within a few weeks or months. Those who are experiencing significant pain may be looking for a quicker solution. Some find it helpful to apply a hot or cold compress to the sore area, and give it a gentle massage. Since there is a link between stress and TMD disorder, relaxation techniques can help decrease symptoms; mindfulness practices and yoga can reduce tension. Light stretching of the jaw can provide relief. Some dentists recommend eating softer food and abstaining from chewing gum or biting your nails. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills can reduce swelling. Medical disciplines that can assist with the treatment of TMD disorder include massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and dental assistance. If the TMD disorder is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, a mouth guard can be helpful. In extreme cases, where the joint is swollen and painful, a steroid is injected into the jaw. Cases where movement is severely restricted and the pain is intense might require surgery. Although this is rare, it involves replacing the temporomandibular joint altogether. 

If you are concerned that you have TMD, you may be looking for a TMJ specialist in Winnipeg. The dentists at East Kildonan Dental group are experienced at treating this common problem. We can offer helpful aids for the varying causes of this disorder. If you experience teeth grinding at night, we can create a custom night guard to alleviate your symptoms. Contact us today and we will provide solutions to help you manage TMD disorder.

Article written by East Kildonan Dental

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