The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from some form of Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD. Most people refer to this disorder as TMJ (temporomandibular joints). Although millions may suffer from this painful condition, few people take steps to alleviate it. Dr. McLaughlin wants you to know that we can help alleviate the suffering caused by TMD.
Your TM joints connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints get a lot of use 24 hours a day (even at night during sleep). Pain in and around these joints can be very unpleasant and can limit your ability to chew, speak, yawn, and swallow. The exact causes vary from patient to patient but are generally created by stress being placed on the joints. This could be from the grinding of your teeth (bruxism), clenching, trauma, misalignment of the jaw, or damage to the cartilage in the joint (arthritis).
- Pain in the jaw area
- Headaches, earaches, or neck pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing
- A change in your bite (the way your teeth come together)
- Locked jaw or limited opening
- Difficulty chewing
Some simple treatments can be done by the patient at home. A few examples are:
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Eat softer foods
- Remember the rule – lips together, teeth apart
- Practice good posture
Dr. McLaughlin offers more advanced treatment options for those who suffer from TMD.
We may fit the patient with a customized splint to be worn at night. The splint can relax the muscles of the jaw and relieve stress on the joint. Sometimes medications must be used as well for certain acute situations.