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TMD And TMJ: Temporomandibular Dysfunction Has Many Symptoms

Originally Posted: July 08, 2010

Guy A. Spinner, D.D.S.

  |   1 Comment · Print Article

TMD and TMJ may be triggered by an injury to the head, face or back, and in some chronic cases, by an imbalance of the muscles of the face and jaw. (SH Hospital)

Southampton - Louise has always complained of tightness in her jaw and neck. Her quest for relief has spanned from chiropractor, massage therapist and neurologist. The day she has her treatment she feels temporary relief only to have the pain return a day or two later.

Paul is 45 years old and has been to his dentist four times already this year for repair of a broken tooth. "Why are my teeth breaking and getting so short and ragged looking? I wake up several times per week with a stiff neck and sore jaw. Sometimes my ear hurts but the dentist says he can't find anything wrong."

Louise and Paul suffer from a common condition called TMD or TMJ. TMD stands for Temporomandibular Dysfunction. It is a problem that is caused by a combination of muscle pain, nerve impingement of the head, neck and jaw region. It may be triggered by an injury to the head, face or back, and in some chronic cases, by an imbalance of the muscles of the face and jaw. The pain from TMD can vary in frequency and severity. The more symptoms present with no clear medical reasons, the more likely it may be TMD. For this reason, the first step is to see your MD to rule out any possible medical cause of the pain.

Recent studies reveal tooth grinding, a symptom of TMD, is linked to patients with sleep apnea.

TMD is sometimes called the great impostor because it creates pain in many areas of the face, head and neck at the same time.

Some of the most common symptoms are

 • Headache/migraines
 • Facial pain/ jaw pain/ sinus pain
 • Shoulder and neck pain
 • Pain in and around the front of your ear
 • Pain above and below the eyes

Other less common symptoms of TMD are dizziness, ringing in the ears, sensitive teeth and notching at the gum line of the teeth.

Recent studies reveal tooth grinding, a symptom of TMD, is linked to patients with sleep apnea.

Seeking Help For TMD
First, your MD must do an examination to eliminate any medical problems that may cause your pain. Next, find a dentist who is trained to treat TMD and understands the neuromuscular physiology of the jaw, head and neck. Many times, he or she can bring balance back to the area stopping the pain and eliminating medications. Specialize dentists trained in sleep apnea make oral appliances in coordination with an MD. A properly made oral appliance may improve both your sleep problem and the TMD pain.

Always be your own advocate. If one doctor is not helping you, research another for a second opinion and treatment.



Guest (Backer) from 11976 says::
Hello Dr.Spinner, I wonder if you do zirconium implants aswell ? Thank you !
Jun 22, 2012 12:36 pm

 

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