Basics and Prevention for TMD

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As a top orthodontist office in Florida, we at St. John’s Orthodontics are familiar and experienced with a set of conditions called TMD. Short for temporomandibular joint disorders, TMD involves issues with the jaw and facial muscles that relate to the temporomandibular joint, the hinge that connects the bones in the skull to the jaw.

TMD can be painful, and can interfere with basic oral functions. Let’s look at some risk factors to watch out for with TMD, plus symptoms and ways to prevent it.

Risk Factors

There are a few factors that can signal you’re at a higher risk than normal for TMD. The first is gender – women are at a higher risk than men. TMD is also most common among adults between ages 20 and 40, so those in this age range should be on the lookout. Some other risk factors include:

  • Excessive grinding of the teeth, which can eventually turn into clenching of the teeth and lead to strained facial muscles.
  • Arthritis in the jaw area, making movement tougher.
  • General overall stress, which can lead to clenching and strain.

Symptoms

TMD symptoms may be temporary, or they may last for years. They may occur on one or both sides of the face, and can include the following:

  • Aching or tired muscles in the face
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew, open or close your mouth
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut
  • Pain in the entire area, including mouth, jaw, neck and even shoulders. This generally arises when you chew or yawn

Prevention

Prevention of TMD mostly involves focusing on your risk factors or any symptoms you have present. If you notice you grind your teeth at night, ask your orthodontist about wearing a mouthguard. If you have too much stress, consider relaxation and stress management programs. Some people also find success by avoiding the chewing of gum, which stresses the jaw.

For more on TMD, or to learn about our affordable braces and our other services, speak to the staff at St. John’s Orthodontics today.

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