Chronic jaw pain is an issue that many patients suffer from but they aren’t always aware of what’s causing the issue. As part of November’s TMJ Awareness Month, Dr. Fitzpatrick wanted to educate her patients on the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD/TMD) to ensure no one is needlessly suffering with pain.
What is TMJD / TMD?
There are several terms used for describing chronic jaw pain which Dr. Fitz wants to clarify — TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints (where the mandible or lower jaw and the temporal bones meet), and TMJ disorder (TMJD or TMD) refers to the issues surrounding your joints.
TMJD/TMD issues can begin because of several issues, including misaligned teeth, trauma or injuries to the jaw/mouth, arthritis in the jaw bone, and certain autoimmune diseases. Anyone can develop TMJD, but symptoms are most severe for women in their childbearing years.
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of TMD so that you can arrange an appointment at your Petworth dentist as soon as possible so Dr. Fitz can help resolve your pain. TMJD can make it difficult to eat and sleep, so it’s important to fix your issues so that your quality of life isn’t affected too much. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s time to visit our dental practice in Petworth, DC:
Restricted movement around your jaw bone or muscles
Clicking or popping noise while you chew
Persistent headaches or earaches / ringing in the ears
Pains around the jaw muscles / in front of your ear
Limited movement in the jaw / jaw locking
Dr. Fitz will assess your symptoms and design a treatment plan around alleviating your short-term pain as well as providing longer term solutions. Treatment options may include using a night guard, beginning physical therapy, meditating to relieve stress factors affecting tightness of the jaw, or straightening your teeth with Invisalign Clear Aligners to correct a misaligned bite. In the short term, eating soft foods, applying ice or moist heat, and minimizing jaw movements can help reduce pain. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team to start your journey to recovery.