Do you know that many factors can affect inner ear pain, chronic headaches, and even jaw pain? Suppose you’ve experienced this discomfort and can’t pinpoint the location or cause. In that case, your pain may originate in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), which controls the movement of your jaw, so you can open your mouth, speak, chew, eat, etc. TMJ can create Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), which causes aches in the jaw muscles, joints, and facial nerves.
What Causes TMD?
Whether you or someone you know experiences it, you’re familiar with knee and back pain. But do you know anyone who suffers from jaw pain? The exact cause of TMD is uncertain. However, strains on the jaw joints and muscle group that controls basic jaw functions like chewing, swallowing, and speech are sometimes the culprits. Other causes can be stress and anxiety, as both are natural ways your body responds to difficulties, and when persistent, they can become detrimental to your health. Other medical conditions include trauma to the jaw, the head, the neck, arthritis, displacement of jaw joints, and more.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
According to John Hopkins Medicine, these are the most common signs and symptoms of TMD:
- Jaw soreness (most prevalent early morning or late afternoon)
- Pain spreads behind the eyes, in the face, shoulder, neck, or back
- Earaches or ringing in the ears
- Clicking or popping of the jaws
- Limited mouth motions
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Sensitivity of the teeth without any prior knowledge of oral health disease
- Numbing or tingling sensation in the fingers
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
What Are The Treatments For TMD?
We encourage you to seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw or cannot open your jaw completely. While there are no set treatments for TMD, your doctor or dentist will design the best course of action depending on your age, overall health, medical history, medication tolerance, and personal preference. However, if there is no pain or problem with movement, you most likely don’t need to seek care for TMD. Primary treatment options include:
- Resting the Temporomandibular Joint
- Medicine or pain relievers
- Relaxation techniques or stress management
- Behavior changes to reduce or stop clenching
- Physical therapy
- Day Guard / Night Guard
- Sleep Appliance for airway obstruction
- Diet changes
- Ice or hot packs
How We’re Helping
Our dental practice is partnering with the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics (AAFE), using new technology and treatments to help relieve the pain of TMD, including Botox®, which can play a pivotal role by relaxing the muscles in the jaw. We also offer at-home sleep studies for our patients that measure clenching, grinding, and airway obstruction. Based on the results, we can determine whether someone is a good candidate for Botox® or a sleep appliance.
We understand how painful TMD can be, and our team is committed to helping you regain comfort throughout your mouth, jaw, and neck. Please contact us to learn more about our services and to schedule an appointment.