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Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
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What is TMD?

Posted on 10/19/2020 by Malmquist Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
What is TMD?TMD is known as temporomandibular disorder and is a general term for any symptoms or problems related to the temporomandibular joint. This is known as TMJ and joins the mandible to the human skull. Disorders can include pain, both mild and severe, at the actual joint. There can also be tenderness associated with it. A radiating pain can occur, causing the ears to ache. This can also affect the face too, causing tenderness and swelling along the cheeks. There can be difficulty chewing as well as pain while eating. If bad enough, the jaw can actually lock either open or closed. Sometimes patients will have a clicking sound or a grating sensation while opening or closing the mouth. If there is no pain associated with the clicking sounds, then treatment for TMD is likely not needed.

TMD Treatment Options

The temporomandibular joint is a sliding hinge which means it couples the movement associated with a hinge and a slide. Normally the bones are covered by cartilage and is kept apart by a disk of shock-absorbing material to maintain smooth motion. When the disc deteriorates enough, it can cause the jaw to become misaligned and pain and tenderness can become noticeable. Other issues which can impact TMJ and result in TMD issues are arthritis, which can hinder proper function of the jaw. If a blow is suffered to the face or jaw it can also affect the TMJ.

To treat TMD there are many options available. Of course, there are medications available both over-the-counter and as a prescription to alleviate some of the symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants can help with swollen tissue aggravating the TMJ. Mouthguards are also an option to stop grinding and clenching.

Exercise is also considered a good therapy because stress is linked to TMD and it can easily reduce stress. Even if limited to twice a week, exercise will help. We can walk you through all available options when you are ready.

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