First, what is TMD? Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a set of conditions that mostly involve pain in the jaw joint underneath the ear, along with the surrounding tissues. It may involve both sides of the jaw or just one, and can limit how much you can move your jaw. TMD can impact a person’s ability to eat, talk, swallow, and more. In short, TMD is no fun for anyone.
TMD involves the temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw bone, the mandible, to the temporal bones of the skull on either side of your head. The muscles that control the joint are attached to the mandible and let your jaw move up and down, forward and backwards, and side to side. As mentioned above, because TMD is a set of conditions, and can manifest itself differently for different people. But TMD does have some classic symptoms that can make it easier for dentists and doctors to diagnose:
- Pain in the jaw joints, whether you’re moving them or not. Pain coming specifically from the joints is a symptom of arthritis of those joints. X-rays can give a definitive picture of arthritis, but people can have pain in the joints with no sign of wear on x-ray, or vice versa.
- A bite that feels misaligned.
- Chronic headaches that can feel like migraines.
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw, especially when talking, chewing, or yawning.
- Vision problems.
- Ear pain, pressure, fullness, or hearing a ringing in the ears.
- Painful clicking or popping in the jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth. Sometimes it can even sound like the bones are grating together. Clicking of the jaw is actually not that uncommon, but if the clicking is accompanied by pain or limited range of motion, then it is more likely to be a symptom of TMD.
- Stiffness in the jaw muscle. This is usually felt in the cheeks and temples, where the jaw muscles are located. If you feel this in the morning, it may be related to grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep.Sometimes the jaw can get stuck in a certain position, or even locked for anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
- Pain in the neck that can radiate down into the shoulders.
- Swelling of the jaw or cheeks.
If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, give us a call today at (850) 542-4428. We have state of the art dental technology to help determine what the underlying issues are, and our dentist, Dr. Djuric, is one of the leading dentists in the Gulf Coast area.