Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is characterized by any combination of:
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw, face or neck musculature and ear
- Difficultly or pain on opening the jaw
- Clicking, locking or popping of the jaw
- Frequent headaches
While there are conditions that may lead to TMD such as structural anomalies like degenerative joints and disc displacement, a large portion of cases are the result of stress and anxiety. Often times we may be clenching or grinding our teeth, known as bruxism, without even being aware of it. Increased stress places tension on the musculature of the face and neck which may contribute to the urge to grind our teeth. Common signs that you may be clenching or grinding include waking up with headaches or jaw/face pain, tooth sensitivity and
your dentist may point out that your teeth show signs of wear.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to what you’ve been experiencing you too may be suffering from TMD. Common treatment options for TMD include medications such as anti-inflammatories, antidepressants and muscle relaxants. In some more severe cases local injections of corticosteroids or botox may be used. The use of bite plates or splints as prescribed by your dentist are often recommended to help correct misalignment and to help protect the teeth from further damage.