If you wake up with headaches or a painful jaw, you may suffer from TMD. At McDonald DDS we often see patients with this disorder that either gets overlooked, or they do not understand it. We are here to help you understand TMJ disorder or TMD and what you can do about it to get the relief that you need.
Understanding Your TMJ
Many people call discomfort in their jaw TMJ, but it is the name of the joint with the disorder. TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is the joint that brings your head and jawbone together. When you talk, chew, or smile, this joint is in motion. When this joint is inflamed or otherwise damaged, you have what is called TMD or Temporomandibular Dysfunction. It can make regular daily chores difficult as pain in your jaw can affect your overall wellbeing.
Do You Have TMD?
The best way to tell if you have TMD is to see Dr. McDonald so that he can conduct an evaluation, which is both verbal and physical to determine if you suffer from this disorder. He can tell you now, that if you have pain in your jaw when you wake up, have unexplained headaches, have pain in the jaw throughout the day, or hear a clicking noise that is bothersome when using your mouth, you may have TMD and should seek help right away.
If you suspect you may have this disorder, our dentists can help you immediately. We start by discussing your symptoms. What do you experience, and when do you feel these issues? We will watch as you open and close your mouth, looking for discomfort or issues with the alignment of the jaw. Sometimes we can identify the disorder without x-rays, but we typically need to use standard x-rays or CT scans to get a better look.
Luckily, treating TMD is not incredibly invasive. We have a variety of techniques we try first, many of which you can do at home to alleviate the pain. We typically start with the use of anti-inflammatory medications and ice/heat on the area, whichever you prefer. This can help reduce the swelling, which, in turn, will reduce the pain.
If the home remedies do not work, we may suggest wearing a mouthguard at night. While we know it is not ideal to think of wearing a mouthguard, it can help you avoid grinding your teeth at night, which may cause the TMD. Depending on the situation, we may also suggest certain exercises and massages you can do at home to help strengthen your jaw and alleviate the pain. The treatment for TMD is non-invasive and can be quite successful, giving you the relief that you need.
Together we can come up with a plan to help you reduce the pain and get a better night’s rest. If you are worried about your TMJ or think you may have TMD, call McDonald DDS at (469) 649-0699 to make your appointment for an evaluation today and fill out a new patient form.