Grand Rapids Orthodontist Serving Grand Rapids, Cascade, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Lowell, Caledonia, Grandville, Kentwood, Jenison, Belmont & Ionia, Michigan (MI)
What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a chronic condition that develops when the muscles and joints on either side of the jaw become irritated and inflamed, usually as a result of uneven stress or strains exerted on the joints. The teeth on the upper and lower jaws are designed to work in pairs, with stresses from chewing and biting equally distributed to prevent joint strain. TMD is often associated with an uneven bite balance caused by crooked or missing teeth. Chronic tooth grinding (bruxism) can also cause or contribute to TMD.
As the jaw joints become more inflamed and irritated, persistent jaw pain and chronic headaches can develop, in addition to clicking or “popping” noises when chewing. Muscle spasms, facial or neck pain, and ringing sensations or “stuffiness” in the ears can also occur. Sometimes, the jaw can become temporarily “locked” in an open position when yawning or opening the mouth very wide. TMD rarely resolves on its own, and unless it gets properly treated, its symptoms can grow much more severe over time.
Is All Jaw Pain Caused By TMD?
No. While TMD is a common cause of persistent jaw pain, it’s not the only one. Jaw pain can also be caused by tooth decay, infections and abscesses, gum disease, cancer, and other issues. Having an evaluation at the first sign of jaw pain is the best way to ensure the most appropriate care is provided as quickly as possible.
How Is TMD Treated?
Treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder focuses on helping to realign and re-balance your teeth and bite to reduce uneven strain on the jaw joints. While some symptoms of TMD may be reduced with certain exercises, medications, or mouth guards designed to hold the jaws in proper alignment, other types of treatment such as orthodontic care or the replacement of missing teeth are typically required to correct the condition and provide long-term relief.
Get Help For TMJ & TMD At Karl Orthodontics Of Grand Rapids, MI
If you live in or around Grand Rapids, Cascade, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Lowell, Caledonia, Grandville, Kentwood, Jenison, Belmont or Ionia, MI, and suspect you are suffering from jaw pain, call Karl Orthodontics at 616.459.7171 today.