Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. TMJ refers to a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint area and the muscles that control the jaw area. Typically, pain in this area for most people really doesn’t signal a serious problem, and is usually only occasional and temporary. However, for those who develop long-term symptoms, the pain can be intense and doesn’t go away without treatment.
Sometimes trauma to the jaw area can trigger TMJ -TMD, but in most cases, symptoms start with no apparent reason. Because TMJ – TMD is more common in women, scientists are currently studying a possible link between TMJ -TMD and female hormones.
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMJ-TMD and create an effective treatment just for you.
There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMJ – TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring: