In America, millions of people live with chronic facial and neck pain in addition to severe headaches. In some cases, this could be caused by Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs for short, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. Since you use these joints to speak, chew, swallow, and yawn, they go through a lot! If you experience pain in and around these joints, it will feel unpleasant and can even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD
• Jaw pain
• Feeling pain, ringing, or stuffiness in your ears
• Frequent headaches and neck pain
• Hearing clicking and popping sounds when you move your jaw
• Muscle spasms in the jaw area
• Alignment change of top and bottom teeth
• A jaw that won’t open all the way or feels locked
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, let your doctor know! They can help determine if you have TMD and will set you on your way to pain relief.
Not All Jaw Pain is Associated with TMD
While it may be tempting to self-diagnose, it’s important to go to a doctor and receive an exam to determine if your symptoms are caused by TMD. Even if your doctor determines that you do not have TMD, there are a few ways that you can prevent it:
• Relax your face – keep your lips together but your teeth apart!
• Don’t grind your teeth.
• Avoid chewing gum.
• Don’t hold a phone between your head and shoulder.
• Chew food using both sides of your mouth.
• Don’t sit with your chin resting on your hand.
• Use good posture! Keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared.
Many people suffer from TMD without ever getting orthodontic treatment. If you suspect you might have TMD, call our office! We’ll refer you to a great TMJ specialist that’ll find the right treatment for you.