Your skull has two jaw joints, which act as hinges for your jaw to open, close, and move side to side. These are known as your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). When these joints become misaligned or suffer trauma, they may develop temporomandibular joint dysfunction or “TMD.”
TMD is often characterized by clicking or popping of the jaw. Most patients with TMD report muscle soreness and pain in the jaw muscles. They also usually have trouble opening and closing their mouth.
If your jaw is misaligned, it may also affect your teeth. It can cause you to grind your teeth during sleep. This is known as bruxism. Bruxism can wear down your teeth and heighten tooth sensitivity.
Besides hurting your jaw and teeth, TMD can create a multitude of other health issues for you. It can contribute to chronic earaches, headaches, and migraines. TMD has also been linked to shoulder pain, neck pain, and tingling fingers.
If you have persistent pain in your jaw, face, head, or neck, you may have TMD. At our Salt Lake City, UT dentist office, Dr. Bigelow can provide the relief you need!
Dr. Bigelow offers custom-made oral appliances to help correct TMJ disorders. These oral appliances are similar to mouth guards. They can help realign your jaw, eliminating the symptoms of TMD. If your symptoms continue, Dr. Bigelow can examine you for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea and TMD are often linked to one another. Dr. Bigelow can provide you with a take-home sleep test to record your sleeping patterns and find the source of your TMJ disorder.
In review, the typical symptoms of TMD are:
- Jaw muscle pain and soreness
- Neck, shoulder, or face pain
- Chronic headaches
- Ear aches, includes pressure and ringing in the ear (tinnitus)
- Clicking, popping of the jaw
- Limited movement of the jaw or lockjaw
- Vision problems
- A misaligned bite
Contact our office today if you think you may have TMD. Dr. Bigelow and his loving staff will do everything they can to help you get the relief you need!