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Q: What is TMD?

Posted July 31, 2013 in Advice Column, Johnston

A: Ever had a headache? We bet you have, and the good news is we can help you find an answer. One very common condition to consider and often one that is overlooked is a problem with the jaw called TMD (Temporomadibular Disorder) otherwise referred to as TMJ.

TMD disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. The cause of TMD is not perfectly clear, but dentists believe that symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Such problems can be associated with the following: Grinding or clenching the teeth, stress, which can cause a person to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth and injury to the joint itself.

Do we have you wondering if TMD is something you may be suffering from? Well, here’s a list of the most common symptoms: Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide, limited ability to open the mouth very wide, jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position, clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth, or difficulty chewing. Other common symptoms of TMD include toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears. Chances are that if you find yourself saying “Yes, I have several of these,” then it’s time to schedule your appointment.

Information provided by Dr. Aaron Rector, Active Wellness, 8711 Windsor, Parkway, Suite 7, 867-2900.

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