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Jaw Pain and TMD – Symptoms and Treatment

Jaw pain can happen for a number of reasons, but no matter what the cause, you’ll want to get your jaw pain looked at by a dentist. When your jaw pain is caused by a serious issue, such as the jaw or teeth being misaligned, you may be at risk for developing additional problems.

Jaw pain is known as temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. TMD is not to be confused with TMJ, which is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint. The TMJ allows you to open your mouth to speak and chew. TMD occurs when that joint develops a disorder or issue.

But how do you know if you have TMD?

What are symptoms of TMD?

Pain from TMD isn’t just felt in the jaw. Because the joint is actually located in front of each ear, the pain of TMD can be felt in the jaw area, around the ear, and may even extend down to your neck and shoulders.

In addition to pain, you may experience a locking feeling of the jaw if you have TMD. You may feel like the jaw is not in the right place or it is not lining up properly or you may struggle to properly chew. If you are experiencing clicking, grating, or popping signs coming from your jaw, this may also be a sign of TMD.

TMD may also cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and hearing problems.

How Is TMD Caused?

Causes of TMD are not widely understood, but dentists do know that certain movements can lead to TMD. Whiplash or an injury to the jaw are some causes of TMD.

Other causes of TMD include overly clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, or arthritis in the joint.

Treating TMD

To properly treat potential TMD, you will want to get a diagnosis from your dentist. Once you have been properly and accurately diagnosed, your dentist will walk you through your potential treatments.

Depending on the severity of your TMD and the reasons behind the disorder, you may need medication, a night guard, or dental work to treat your TMD. Your dentist will help you determine the right treatment for you and your unique situation.

To get a TMD diagnosis or to talk about your jaw pain, contact the Kansas City Cosmetic Dentist office of Dr. James R. Anderson, DDS. You can schedule an appointment at 816.454.3336.

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