What Are TMD and TMJ? TMD and TMJ

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It allows you to move your jaw around, so you can eat, drink, and talk. If you have problems with that joint and the muscles in your face, including pain, it is called TMD, temporomandibular disorder, and it affects your TMJ. 

What causes TMD and TMJ?

The following are the leading causes of TMD and TMJ: 

  • Injury to your jaw or the muscles in your head and neck. This may be the result of a car accident or a heavy blow. 
  • Grinding of your teeth. When you grind or clench your teeth, it puts pressure on the TMJ. 
  • Stress. Many people hold stress in their face and jaw muscles, which can cause TMD and TMJ.
  • Arthritis. 

What are the Symptoms of the Disease? 

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness. You may feel sore in your face, jaw, and even your neck and shoulders when you are suffering from TMD. You may even have neck and headaches. 
  • Trouble opening your mouth fully. 
  • Stuck jaw. Some people with TMD and TMJ say that they feel like their jaws get stuck or locked in position. 
  • Clicking sounds.  Your jaw may make clicking or popping sounds when you open and close it. 
  • Trouble chewing. Your bite may feel off because your teeth don’t align the way they should. 
  • Facial swelling.

What are your Treatment Options? 

Most people try home remedies before they see their doctor. These include: 

  • Pain medications. 
  • Heat/Cold packs. 
  • Eat softer foods.
  • Avoid pressure on your jaw by keeping your mouth open.
  • Focus on stress relief and relaxation techniques.

How can an Orthodontist Help?

If you aren’t getting relief at home or your TMD has lasted longer than you can handle, you may need to visit an orthodontist. They should be able to help you by:

  • Stronger medication. You may need something stronger than over-the-counter medications to help with your pain. 
  • Nightguard. A properly fitted night guard will help keep you from grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep. 
  • Dental work. You may have TMD or TMJ due to dental problems that could be fixed. If you have an under, over, or crossbite, your orthodontist can get your teeth back in alignment. 

If you are dealing with TMD, you may need to seek medical attention so that you don’t suffer anymore. Our experts at Virginia Orthodontic Partners can help you find relief from your pain and discomfort! Contact us today online or call (703) 750-9393