TMD/TMJ is a group of related conditions affecting the jaw joint, the muscles involved with chewing, and associated structures. Pain from the muscles involved with chewing can coexist with temporomandibular joint pain (this joint allows jaw movement and is located in front of the ear).
Moving your jaw or chewing may worsen pain. Other complaints include clicking, popping, shifting and locking of your jaw, ear pain (not caused by an infection), limited mouth opening, headaches, neck pain and sensitivity in your teeth. TMD is most common in young and middle aged adults.
What causes TMJ?
No single cause of TMD has been identified. Some factors that have been associated with TMD include systemic disease (Lyme disease, tumors, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis), trauma (direct impact, whiplash injury, clenching/grinding teeth). Stress, anxiety and depression can also be contributing factors, but in most cases more than one factor contributes to developing this type of pain.
How is TMD/TMJ treated?
Your doctor may recommend an oral appliance or mouthguard, physical therapy, posture training, ice and heat packs, diet changes to rest jaw muscles, behavior changes and relaxation techniques.
If you would like to get treatment for TMJ, book a consultation with our partner TMJ/TMD specialist office, Worcester Sleep Dentistry.