What Is TMD & What Can You Do About It?

Temporomandibular disorders, or TMD, can cause significant pain, headaches, and difficulty eating. The cause of TMD varies, but for many people, the problem can be traced to their sleep habits and how they handle stress. If you dentist has diagnosed TMD, here is what you need to know.

What Causes TMD?

Dentists are unsure of exactly what causes TMD, but there is a theory that grinding your teeth while sleeping and during high stress situations can lead to its development. When you grind your teeth, a lot of pressure is placed on the temporomandibular joint. The joint is what connects your temporal bones and jaw.

When TMD develops, not only can you experience pain, but you might hear a clicking noise when you chew or talk. Your jaw might seem to get stuck and your face can start to feel tired as the day progresses. Swelling could even develop.

Unfortunately, TMD can even impact your hearing. You could develop ringing in the ears and sounds might sound muted. Your upper shoulders could start to hurt.

What Is the Treatment?

There are several treatments available for TMD, but if yours results from grinding your teeth while sleeping, your dentist will likely recommend wearing an occlusal splint. The splint acts as a mouth guard that prevents you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.

The customized splint maintains a space between your upper and lower jaw, which prevents grinding. It also relieves the pressure that accompanies TMD so that you can get some relief from the symptoms that you have been experiencing.

It is important that the occlusal splint is custom made. Simply wearing a store-bought mouth guard will not provide the right repositioning of the upper and lower jaw that is necessary to get the relief from symptoms.

What Can You Do at Home?

There are some things you can do at home to help alleviate your symptoms. For instance, you can try to limit the use of your jaw muscles. Try to avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods.

In addition to this, you can you hot and cold therapy to help with alleviating pain. If there is swelling, the therapies will also help.

Talk to local emergency dental services about other ways you can relieve the symptoms of TMD. If your TMD did not develop as a result of grinding during stress and sleep, your dentist will diagnose the source and develop a treatment plan.