Have you ever heard clicking or popping sounds when you move your lower jaw? This could be due to the movement associated with the TMJ or the Temporomandibular Joint. It is one of the most important joints of the human body that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It comes into picture when you indulge in everyday activities such as biting, chewing, talking, yawning, etc.
What is TMD?
TMD is an oral disorder that is caused when the muscles around the TMD are stressed. It makes the movement of the lower jaw painful, which hinders oral functionality to a massive extent. Even the simplest movement, such as yawning, can cause discomfort and pain. When TMD persists for a long time, it can lead to associated conditions such as persistent headache, ringing sound in the ears, lockjaw, limited movement of the lower jaw, etc.
How does one develop TMD?
Some of the causes of TMD are as follows:
- A sleep disorder called Bruxism is one of the main causes of TMD. Patients with TMD often grind their teeth while asleep, which applies a lot of pressure on the TMJ. The muscles around the joint strain excessively during this, which can lead to TMD.
- Chewing gum regularly keeps the TMJ active for a longer time. It makes the facial joints and muscles sore.
- Consciously or subconsciously clenching the jaws or grinding the teeth stresses out the TMJ.
- Sleeping in awkward positions that continuously apply pressure on the TMJ can be quite harmful.
- In rare cases, external trauma to the face, especially the jaws, can cause TMD.
How can it be treated?
Early treatment for TMD can be quite helpful in saving you from a lot of pain and discomfort. When you visit our dental practice for a consultation, our dentist will thoroughly diagnose your condition. They will understand the root cause behind it and address it accurately. Some of the treatment methods that we can use to alleviate the pain are personalized oral appliances (known as splints or nightguards), massage therapy, pressure point therapy, medication, and in the worst-case scenario, oral surgery.
To have a consultation with Dr. Ziadat and his associates, please schedule an online appointment or call us at (480) 345-7413, and we will be happy to help.