Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (or TMD for short) is the pain in your jaw, face or neck due to clenching or grinding your teeth. The good news? You can relieve and treat this pain. Here’s how...

What’s TMD and why is it painful?

First things first: let’s talk about your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your jaw to your skull. If you think about it, this joint works really hard for your body—all day, every day. You rely on your TMJ to talk, eat, swallow, smile, frown, open and close your mouth, etc. 

In addition to teeth grinding (also known as Bruxism), hormones, diet, dehydration, posture or medications can also trigger TMD pain. Not to mention, it’s also common for people to instinctively tense their jaw or grind their teeth when they’re focusing or feeling stressed. So, if you’re feeling pain, discomfort or tension in that area, it’s not so surprising!

Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Stiffness when moving the mouth
  • Sore or sensitive teeth
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Headaches
  • Ear aches or ringing in the ears
  • Neck, back or shoulder pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling

 

How do we treat TMD?

If you’ve experienced or are experiencing TMD, you know it’s a pesky and sometimes draining problem to deal with throughout your day. Thankfully, some things can greatly ease your discomfort and treat the root of the problem.

 

Self-care

Sometimes a TMD flare-up can be an indicator that you need to invest in your own care. You may be stressed, tired, busy or maybe you’ve been ignoring pain or discomfort for too long. Now, it’s time to put some self-care basics in place.

 

  • Apply heat or ice
  • Eat soft foods and reduce hard or chewy foods
  • Stay hydrated and reduce caffeine intake
  • Practise body relaxation and breathing exercises
  • Maintain a good posture
  • Rest your body as much as you can
  • Gently stretch or massage the affected area

 

See your dentist

Self-care is helpful, but it may not be the answer to effectively treating your TMD. To really know what’s causing your pain, your dentist is your go-to health professional. First, they’ll assess your jaw, mouth and teeth and provide the treatment that’s going to help get to the heart of the issue.

 

  • Mouthguards
  • Dental splints
  • Orthodontic adjustments
  • Reshaping or adjusting teeth
  • Surgery, for more severe cases
  • Prescribed medication to assist with pain management

 

Make an appointment today

Our team of experienced dentists understands just how uncomfortable TMD can be. When you book in to see us, we’ll find out what’s causing your discomfort and how we can best treat it for you. To find out more about our TMD treatments, click here.