Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

What are temporomandibular disorders?

Temporomandibular disorders are a group of diseases affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its surrounding apparatus. A major component of TMD is disturbance of the muscles that surround the temporomandibular joint, which help open and close the lower jaw. In many cases TMD is a manifestation of stress, where patients grind their teeth at night or during the day. However, TMD can also be the result of a defective joint apparatus. The constant trauma from grinding or clenching can cause muscle spasm and joint pain. Some common symptoms of TMD are:

  • Facial or jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Jaw stiffness, joint noises (popping/clicking) or pain while opening wide
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Locking of the joint

How are temporomandibular disorders treated?

A thorough understanding of these disorders is necessary to evaluate and prepare an effective treatment plan. Non-surgical treatments are sufficient to manage most TMD cases, and palliative treatments such as moist heat applications or over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can also relieve symptoms. Muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medication, exercises and appliances to reduce muscle spasms may be prescribed.


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