What Are Symptoms Of Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?
Pain is the most common symptom of TMD; however, some people have no pain but still have problems using their jaws. Specific symptoms include:
- Face pain
- Pain in the jaw joint and nearby areas, including the ear
- Back pain
- Inability to open the mouth comfortably
- Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint
- Locking of the jaw when attempting to open the mouth
- A bite that is uncomfortable or feels “off”
- Swelling on the side of the face, neck or shoulder
Other symptoms may include ringing in the ears, decreased hearing, dizziness and vision problems.
Keep in mind that occasional discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common and is not a cause for concern. Many people with TMD problems get better without treatment. Often the problem goes away on its own in several weeks to months.
What Causes TMD Diseases And Disorders?
Not all causes of TMD are known. Some possible causes are injuries to the jaw area, various forms of arthritis, some dental procedures, stretching of the jaw (as a result of movements like inserting a breathing tube before surgery), and clenching or grinding of teeth, especially during sleep.
How Are TMD Diseases And Disorders Treated?
According to the public health sources, TMD treatments should be reversible whenever possible. That means that the treatment should not cause permanent changes to the jaw or teeth. Irreversible treatments have not been proven to work and may even make the problem worse.
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Prescription medications
- Gentle jaw stretching and relaxation exercises
- Stabilization splints (biteplate, night guard)
- Adjustment of the bite by grinding the teeth
- Extensive dental work
- Mandibular repositioning splints
- Surgical procedures including replacement of all or parts of the jaw
Are Treatments Covered By Insurance?
Many medical and dental insurance plans do not pay for the treatment of jaw joint and muscle disorders, or, they only pay for some procedures. Contact your insurance company to see which treatments are covered for you.