The movement of your jaw is controlled by the temporomandibular joint which connects the jaw to temporal bones in the skull. It is this joint which allows movement that let you chew, speak and yawn. Temporomandibular disorders are a result of problems in the jaw and the associated muscles in your face.
TMD can be caused by injury to the TMJ, the jaw or muscles in the head and neck. In some cases it is also believed that extreme grinding of the teeth which puts a lot of pressure on the joint can cause TMD problems. Arthritis in the joint and stress which can lead to clenching facial and jaw muscles have also been linked to TMD problems. There exists a soft disc between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint which aids movement of the jaw; displacement of this disc can cause problems.
TMD has been linked to pain and discomfort in the face, head and neck. At times the pain is temporary and disappears in a short time while at other times it can last for years. People between the ages of twenty and forty and women are more susceptible to TMD.
- Difficulty in opening the mouth wide.
- Locking of the jaw and clicking or popping of the joint when the mouth is opened or closed.
- Persistent pain in the face, neck, shoulders, jaw or near the ears when you chew, speak or open your mouth.
- Swelling in the jaw or the side of the face.
- Trouble chewing properly.
Since there is no one single cause of TMD, there is usually no one single treatment. Depending on the severity of your case your dentist may advise therapy or even surgery in extreme cases. Your dentist will teach you relaxation techniques to keep your jaw free and can even advise wearing a guard while sleeping at night. Medications such as muscle relaxers or pain relievers may also be prescribed. If you are suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder, visit Beverly Hills Dental Center for a consultation with an expert today!