Signs That Jaw Pain Might be TMD

Do you suffer from jaw pain? Or maybe you hear snapping, clicking or other such sounds when you yawn, talk or chew? If so, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

This still not completely understood type of ailment encompasses a slew of dysfunctions and can range from mildly uncomfortable to downright agonizing. TMD affects millions of North Americans and can be either a temporary condition or one that lasts for many years. If you think you might have TMD, it’s best to consult with a dentist at your local Skyview Dental Clinic in Calgary.

What are temporomandibular joints?
Temporomandibular joints are hinge-like components that connect your upper and lower jaws. They’re highly specialized parts of your body that can move both up and down and from left to right, thereby allowing speech, chewing, yawning, sneezing and other facial movements.

What causes TMD?
TMDs can occur for a number of reasons. They may be the result of an injury, dislocation, bruxism, stress or other cause. Some research indicates that women are more susceptible to TMDs, possibly because of anatomical differences within the disc supporting the joint. In many cases, the cause behind the TMD remains unknown.

What are the most common symptoms of TMD?
TMD doesn’t always present the same way and may be associated with somewhat different symptoms in each patient. However, the following are some of the more common indications of a TMD.

  • Jaw pain or pain in the muscles surrounding the jaw
  • Lockjaw or difficulty opening your mouth
  • Trouble chewing or talking
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds when you move your jaw
  • Frequent headaches 
  • Sore neck and shoulders
  • Earaches and/or tinnitus
  • A misaligned bite
  • Swelling on the side of your face
The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that your dentist will diagnose the problem as TMD.

How is TMD treated?

There are many things our Calgary dentists from Skyview Ranch Dental could recommend, depending on the specifics involved in your particular case. The following are commonly prescribed treatments:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen. 
  • Stronger prescription drugs like muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety medication.
  • Apply heat or ice packs to the area, or some combination of the two. 
  • A soft food diet or a diet that prohibits hard, crunchy foods.
  • Restriction of your jaw movements (yawning, yelling, singing, gum chewing or other such actions).
  • Practising good posture.
  • A mouth guard
  • Dental work if your bite needs to be corrected.

Oral surgery as a last resort

If nothing else works, your Calgary dentist may recommend oral surgery. There are several different kinds of procedures that are possible, and much depends on what specific issues you’re facing.

Get a diagnosis!

Don’t resign yourself to discomfort, do something about it! The first step in treating TMD is to get a diagnosis. At Skyview Ranch Dental Clinic, a caring dentist is available to review your case and work with you to manage your symptoms. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Calgary dental clinic today.
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