TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and is a common joint condition that causes pain and discomfort when the mouth is opened or closed. It is a general term for a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint — the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to open and close your mouth. TMD is characterized by pain of the jaw joint that is made worse during or after eating or yawning. It can cause limited jaw movement and clicks and pops during chewing. In severe cases, pain can radiate into the neck, shoulders, and back.
A major cause of TMD is teeth grinding. This habit creates extra pressure on the joint which can aggravate an already inflamed joint. Teeth clenching also creates extra pressure on the joint by causing the facial and jaw muscles to tighten. Arthritis, stress, and strenuous activity can all create undue pressure on the temporal mandibular joint. Men are not as affected by TMD as women, who are two times more likely to be affected, especially those of childbearing age.
Did you know that TMD can be treated with orthodontic care? Three non-invasive methods of treatment include a nightguard that holds your teeth apart, keeping the teeth from grinding together; a splint which would be worn all the time; and braces to correct the bite. Braces are by far the best option for treating TMD because it would address correcting the bite as a whole, therefore correcting the problem entirely. TMD caused by bite issues can very effectively be treated with braces. Braces are designed to place teeth into their proper alignment, which in turn would resolve bite issues.
If TMD has been an issue for you, or if you think you may have TMD, we would love to meet with you to discuss a treatment plan. Contact Brooks Orthodontics today to make an appointment with our doctor to help relieve your jaw pain.
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