The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the small temporal bones in your skull that are in front of each ear. If you have problems with this joint, such as pain or locking, consult the experienced dentists at Northwest Dental Services & Dental Implant Center. They’ve helped thousands of patients in the Tacoma, Washington area with temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. Call today or use the online booking agent to make an appointment and ease your jaw pain today.
TMD is sometimes mistakenly called TMJ, after the joint. But, TMD is really the correct way to refer to problems related to jaw and muscles in your face.
TMD is characterized by a number of different symptoms, including:
Other possible side effects of TMD include headaches, toothaches, dizziness, and earaches.
The dentists at Northwest Dental Services rule out other conditions, including tooth decay and sinus problems, that could be causing your symptoms. They test your bite, check your jaw joint, and ensure the joint works as it should. They may also order specific imaging tests, including X-rays, to view your jaws and their structure.
The dentists may offer suggestions for lifestyle remedies to improve your pain from TMD, such as sticking to soft food and avoiding movements that cause you to open your mouth too widely. Moist heat and ice packs applied to your jaw area can also relieve uncomfortable tension. Many people find relief after just a couple weeks of these therapies.
The doctors can prescribe high doses of pain relievers to temporarily address discomfort. You may also benefit from a muscle relaxer if you clench your jaw or grind your teeth as you sleep. If anxiety causes you to clench your jaw and result in TMD, you may benefit from low doses of antidepressants and antianxiety medications, too.
In some cases, a night guard can help keep minimize the TMD effects of clenching or grinding. You may also be eligible for a splint, which does the same thing but can be worn day and night.
Some people with TMD find relief after having dental work, especially to replace missing teeth and balance the biting surfaces of your teeth. The dentists may also suggest TENS stimulation, which sends low-level electrical currents to the muscles of the face around the jaw.