What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

When your jaw muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints are in alignment, they function properly to facilitate the mobility of your jaw. This paves the way for actions like chewing, yawning, talking, and swallowing to occur smoothly. Problems that prevent this system from working in harmony can result in temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Dysfunctional temporomandibular joints (TMJs), muscles, and bones can cause jaw pain, discomfort, and other symptoms. If you suffer from TMD, your Chicago, Illinois dentist from A Brush Above Family Dentistry can help with treatment.

TMD Causes and Symptoms 

Your TMJs, like all joints in your body, are susceptible to wear and tear or damage. The muscles, ligaments, or tendons in your joints can become strained, sore, or inflamed, affecting TMJ function. Your age or gender can make you more prone to TMD (women are more likely to develop this condition than men), along with your physical or mental state, like stress can be a trigger. Medical conditions like fibromyalgia can also cause TMD symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of TMD are:

• Jaw soreness, stiffness, or pain 

• Clicking or popping noises when you open or close your mouth

• Limited jaw function 

• Jaw muscle spasms

• Your jaw becoming “stuck” when it’s in an open or closed position

TMD Treatment

TMD symptoms need not be cause for alarm as there are options for treatment. Dr. Marcella Guzman will evaluate your condition and recommend strategies that can help relieve pain and discomfort. Some options include altering your diet (eating softer foods) to relieve stress on your muscles and joints or icing your jaw to help reduce inflammation and pain. Stretching exercises can help relieve muscle spasms. We can also recommend anti-inflammatory medications to provide pain relief.

For severe cases of TMD, you may benefit from restorative dental treatments like bridgework or orthodontics. We’ll work with you to outline a treatment plan to suit your unique dental needs.

To learn more about TMDs and TMD pain relief therapies, contact Dr. Marcella Guzman from A Brush Above Family Dentistry, serving Chicago, Illinois, and surrounding communities, at (773) 840-0378.