Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as severe, recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, also known as TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
If you notice that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, let Dr. Okun know at your next appointment. She can help determine if you have TMD and create a customized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Not all jaw pain is associated with TMD
It is possible to have pain that is associated with spasm of the chewing muscles (myofacial pain disorder) without having changes of the jaw joint. If you feel you might have TMD or myofacial pain, call Dr. Okun for an evaluation. If your pain is muscle related there are many different preventive steps you can take to maintain a healthy, strong smile.
- Relax your face — “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid all gum chewing and eating nuts and seeds
- Eat a softer diet
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear with your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin resting on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Many people get TMD and myofacial pain without ever having braces. Symptoms usually wax and wane regardless of whether braces are worn. Dr Okun can ease your pain with Energy medicine (the electromyopulse and accuscope system) and help you keep it in check with night time use of an Occlusal guard (dental appliance). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and are concerned that you’re a candidate for TMD treatment, please contact our office for a consultation.