Do you suffer from recurring headaches, a popping or clicking jaw and/or locking jaws? If so, you likely have temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. People often call this disorder TMJ, but that’s actually just an acronym for temporomandibular joint, the joint that connects your jaw to your skull.
TMD Causes and Symptoms
Though research scientists are not entirely sure what causes TMD, we do know that it does have a genetic component and that a few things definitely trigger it and make symptoms worse. These include:
• A misaligned bite
• Anxiety and stress
• Habitually clenched teeth
• Wear and tear on the cartilage of the TMJ
Symptoms include headaches, pain in one or both sides of the jaw, locking jaws, and popping or cracking sounds when chewing or speaking.
Now that you have a better idea of what TMD is and how to spot it, you are probably wondering how it is treated. If your TMD is triggered by clenching your teeth, especially at night, we may recommend a mouth guard or splint to keep you from clenching your teeth when you sleep. We may also recommend Invisalign or another treatment to re-align your bite to relieve symptoms.
If you are experiencing headaches or an aching jaw, you can also gain temporary relief with a warm compress and/or over-the-counter nSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs). Performing regular jaw exercises to loosen the joint and relax your face may help. In some rare cases, surgery is necessary to relieve pain and reduce symptoms.
When you visit us at L’Enfant Plaza Dental Arts in Washington, DC, Dr. Norkiewicz or Dr. Konigsberg will perform an oral examination and provide you with a professional diagnosis for your TMD. They will then walk you through all of our options and help you get on the road to recovery.
Contact Our Washington, DC Dentist
To learn more about TMD or to book your appointment, call us at L’Enfant Plaza Dental Arts today at 202-488-8300. Or if you prefer, you may fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to helping you get relief from your TMD symptoms.