Temporomandibular disorder, frequently referred to as TMD or TMJ, is a painful disorder involving the temporomandibular (TM) joints, which are located on each side of the head. According to the American Dental Association, TMD affects more than 15 percent of adults nationwide. TMD can impact all areas of the face, leaving its victims in tremendous pain. The exact cause of TMD has yet to be identified, but dentists believe symptoms could stem from problems with jaw muscles or with parts of the joint itself.

Dental treatments for TMJ can include splint therapy, replacing missing teeth, adjusting the bite or filling gaps between teeth. If left untreated, severe cases may require surgery to repair the joint. Treatment times may vary so always consult your dental physician about the best treatment plan for you.

 
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If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, TMD could be the culprit:

  • Facial, neck or shoulder pain when you chew, speak or open your mouth widely
  • Inability to fully open your mouth without pain
  • Jaw locking
  • Difficulty chewing or discomfort when biting
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Toothaches, headaches or neck aches
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing loss

Problems with your TM joints can be attributed to:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Clenching your teeth
  • Stress-induced tightening of the facial muscles or jaw
  • Injury to your jaw, neck or head
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TM joints