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Possible causes of temporomandibular joint disorder are:
- Injury to the jaw, the joint or muscles of the head and neck, such as from a heavy blow or whiplash
- dislocation of upper and lower jaws during growth and development due to mouth breathing/allergies
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Dislocation of the ball and socket
- Arthritis in the TMJ
Common symptoms include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Ringing in the ears (tendinitis)
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew or speak
- Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
- Jaws that get "stuck" or "locked" in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew
- A tired feeling in your face
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of your face
Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ:
- Medications. Your dentist can prescribe higher doses of anti-inflammatories if you need them for pain and swelling. He might suggest a muscle relaxer to relax your jaw if you grind or clench your teeth. Or an anti-anxiety medication to relieve stress, which may bring on TMD. In low doses, they can also help reduce or control pain.
- A splint or night guard. These plastic mouthpieces fit over your upper and/or lower teeth so they don’t touch. They lessen the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite by putting your teeth in a more correct position. What’s the difference between them? You wear night guards while you sleep. You use a splint all the time. Your dentist will tell you which type you need.
- Dental work. Your dentist can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem.
Talk to your dentist about these treatments for TMD and which are right for you. Schedule a consultation at Neibauer Dental Care - Fort Belvoir; call us at 703-554-3500.