What is TMD?
TMD, temporomandibular disorders, is a term that refers to any problems related to the jaw, jaw joint or surrounding facial muscles. While there are a variety of treatments available, we offer night guards to treat the symptoms of TMD in the Northborough, MA area.
What causes TMD?
Although the cause of TMD in a patient is often unclear, there are several possible causes of the disorder:
- Whiplash or injury to the jaw, jaw joint or surrounding muscles
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ (temporomandibular joint)
- Dislocation of the ball and socket in the TMJ
What are the symptoms of TMD?
While the pain associated with TMD can sometimes only be temporary, most of the symptoms last for years if untreated. The following are some of the most common symptoms of TMD:
- Swelling on the sides of the face, surrounding the jaw area
- Clicking or popping sounds or discomfort when opening or closing the jaw
- Sudden discomfort in your bite- feeling as if your top and bottom teeth are misaligned
- Jaws that get stuck in the closed position
- Pain in the jaw/jaw joint
- Earaches/hearing problems
- Difficulty in opening mouth very wide
Basic Treatment for TMD
In order to receive treatment for TMD, our dentist will examine your jaw and surrounding areas to determine the cause of the disorder. This process usually requires taking an X-ray or a CT scan of the jaw bones. These images allow our dentist to determine the best treatment for your particular case of TMD.
While some cases of TMD require surgery or other intensive procedures, the majority of TMD cases can be treated with basic treatment. The following are some treatment options for minor TMD cases:
- Apply heat or cold packs– alternate between placing a cold pack on the painful areas, followed by performing simple jaw exercises (such as opening and closing the jaw), then apply a warm or hot towel on the area.
- A soft food diet– eating only soft foods such as yogurt or cheese can decrease strain on the jaw/jaw joint/ surrounding muscles and may alleviate pain.
- Take medications– take OTC pain medications such as Tylenol or Bayer to relieve pain. Anti-anxiety pills may also help to decrease stress that can often be a cause of TMD
Night Guards for TMD Treatment
At Dr. Jacob Stein’s practice, we often prescribe night guards as a form of treatment for TMD. These night guards are thin, plastic coverings that are placed over the top and bottom teeth and reduce clenching or grinding of the teeth. The night guards can also correct a misaligned bite and reduce pressure on the jaw joint. Our night guards are designed to be worn at night only. Call us today at (508) 393-8589 to learn more about using our night guards to treat symptoms of TMD.