Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition which affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and facial muscles associated with the movement of the jaw. It can create painful symptoms that may arise quickly, lasting for months or years. While the causes of TMD can be difficult to pinpoint, there are factors known to contribute to its onset, including injury, teeth grinding or clenching, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have jaw pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. John V. Louis to discover whether you have a disorder of the TMJ in Easton, MD. Symptoms of TMD can be confused with other conditions, but include the following:
- Jaw pain
- Aching neck or shoulders
- Toothaches and difficulty chewing
- Clicking or popping noises when the jaw opens or closes
- Lock jaw
- Tired facial or jaw muscles
- Headaches or earaches
- Difficulty hearing or ringing in the ears
- Discomfort when biting down
Who Experiences Problems With the TMJ
Anyone can develop the jaw pain and associated symptoms of TMD, but some patients are more at risk than others. Women are more likely to experience the condition, as are those between the ages of 20 and 40.
Dr. Louis may first suggest mild treatments that may be performed at home, such as the application of warm compresses or taking over the counter pain relievers. Performing stretches for your facial muscles can also help to alleviate jaw pain. Eating a soft food diet can temporarily rest the jaw muscles, allowing them to naturally release tension.
For patients whose jaw pain persists, Dr. Louis may suggest that a nightguard be worn while sleeping. A nightguard, similar to a mouth guard worn in sports, can protect the teeth from clenching and grinding, a known cause of jaw pain. In severe cases, Dr. Louis may recommend cortisone shots which can relieve swelling and discomfort. In rare cases, surgical replacement of the joint is necessary.
Jaw pain associated with TMD can be a debilitating condition. To schedule your TMJ evaluation in Easton, MD, contact Dr. Louis today.