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TMD Treatment at Beyond Dentistry Laser Center in Brooklyn, NY

Do you experience chronic headaches, neck pain, or an aching jaw? You may have temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, a dysfunction of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. TMD is often incorrectly referred to as TMJ, but this is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. TMJ syndrome and temporomandibular joint dysfunction are other correct names for TMD.

What Causes TMD?

The jaw joint is very complex because of its unique range of motion. If you grind your teeth when you sleep, clench your jaw while you’re awake, or frequently eat oversized or tough foods, pressure can develop in the jaw. Having an uneven bite or arthritis is also harmful to your TMJ.

Under enough pressure, the muscles that control jaw movement can overwhelm the ligaments that hold the joint in place, and stretching may occur. The jaw muscles then overcompensate and become tense, causing TMD to develop.

Symptoms of TMD

TMD can present differently in each patient. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Aching jaw on one or both sides
  • Pain in the temple area
  • Difficulty opening the mouth all the way
  • Painful chewing
  • Misaligned bite
  • Clicking or popping of the TMJ
  • A locking or inability to move the jaw
  • Ringing in the ears

Treatment for TMD

If you have jaw pain, you may find relief from trying these TMD treatment options:

  • Jaw stretches: At-home care is often enough to relieve mild jaw pain. First, open your mouth wide, close it halfway, and move your jaw from side to side. Then, gently massage the jaw joint where it meets your skull directly in front of your ears.
  • Careful chewing: Rather than biting directly into a turkey leg or burger, you may need to cut your food into smaller, more manageable pieces. You should also avoid tough or chewy foods like bagels, steak, and gum.
  • Ice: Apply a towel-wrapped ice pack to your jaw joint in 15-minute increments throughout the day to help bring down inflammation.
  • Therapeutic jaw exercises: If the muscles in your jaw, head, neck, shoulders, and mid-back are weak, you may be susceptible to TMD. Strengthening exercises can help provide relief.
  • Inflammation control: Ultrasound and electrical nerve stimulation can reduce the swelling and muscle spasms associated with TMD. These treatments can also improve your range of motion and decrease pain.
  • Mouthguard: Nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common cause of TMD. Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard to wear while you sleep to relieve morning jaw pain.

If you think you have TMD or want to avoid developing this jaw condition, visit Beyond Dentistry Laser Center for a consultation. We can help treat TMD, especially if a misaligned bite or bruxism is to blame. Our dental professionals can also evaluate your facial muscles and recommend appropriate treatment plans. To speak with a dentist in Brooklyn about your jaw pain, please call us at 718-436-0202 or schedule an appointment online.