Heyy everyone 💕 How was your weekend?
Today, I would like to talk to you guys about Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. This is a problem with the jaw and some face muscles which I have and been struggling with for years now.
I decided to write this post because I feel like people need to become more familiar about this condition. Especially those who have been experiencing its early symptoms but not really aware about the disorder, like I was. I’d say it is very important to know something about TMD because having at least small knowledge could actually save you guys from more complications. I didn’t really care if my jaw was hurting before, coz it wasn’t really that bad. But as months went by, the pain that I was experiencing was getting worse so I decided to go to the dentist about 5 months ago and then I was diagnosed with TMD.
So I wanna start off by showing you informations about TMD and then later on, I will shortly talk about my experience. How I got the disorder, what caused it, and what are the treatments i’m undergoing.
*The following article has been published at WebMD.com
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ)
Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.
Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
What Causes TMD?
Dentists believe symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.
- Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck — like from a heavy blow or whiplash.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
- Movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
- Arthritis in the joint
- Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth
What Are the Symptoms?
TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face. More women than men have it, and it’s most common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
- Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
- A tired feeling in your face
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
- Swelling on the side of your face
You may also have toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
How Is TMD Diagnosed?
Many other conditions cause similar symptoms — like tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease. To figure out what’s causing yours, the dentist will ask about your health history and conduct a physical exam.
For further reading about the treatments for TMD, you can click this link ⬇
This disorder is fairly common. Research says 1 out of 4 people have symptoms in the jaw joint at some times in their lives. And of these people, only about 1 out of 20 consult a doctor for this problem. Patient.info
My Early Years and Diagnosis
I don’t really know when I exactly started having symptoms of TMD. But I would say I have been experiencing ‘jaw lock’ since High School, I was about 14-15 years old. I wasn’t really bothered that much because I thought it was normal. That everyone experiences it at some point of their lives. My brother also gets popping sounds in his jaw point sometimes so I really thought it wasn’t a big deal. But I was wrong.
I don’t know what originally caused me this condition. So I couldn’t really tell the orthodontist what might have been the reason how I got it. She examined my whole face. Made me bite every now and then while she holds two fingers on both sides of my cheeks at my jaw point. She thinks that there has been something wrong with how I bite food. I had a molar tooth removed a few years ago. That tooth is primarily used to grind food during chewing. And because of not having my right molar anymore, in the side of my mouth where I always chew my food, the jaw eventually moved beyond its original place. I also believe that constantly yawning with mouth wide open made my condition worse. And guess what? It even made my face look asymmetrical. This is the main reason why I don’t like having any other person to take pictures of me. As I know my face would look even more asymmetrical, unless I get a good angle.
*Having TMD causes you headaches very often. Sometimes, the ears get also affected. Jaw, neck and back pain are some you would often experience as well. It’s a total discomfort for everyday life.
* Severe TMD may lead someone to undergo Arthroscopy, a surgery done with an arthroscope being inserted through a small cut in the front of the ear that will help remove inflamed tissue or realign disc. But if Arthroscopy is not possible, an open-joint surgery may be done.
There are a lot of home treatments for TMD. Doctors may suggest you to take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs. These will relieve the muscle pain and swelling. They may also suggest you to use cold packs and do some jaw stretches everyday.
Getting Dental Braces and Splint
I wasn’t given drugs but I was told to avoid extreme jaw movements. I also got dental braces on the upper teeth and splint for the lower to correct my bite problem. The splint was so uncomfortable to wear at first, but I somehow got used to it. It is a plastic mouthpiece that lessens the effect of clenching by putting the teeth to a more correct position. I’m wearing it for 5 almost mos. now and i’ll have it removed next month (doctors require patients to wear it for at least six months) This is how it looks like:
So far, I’m seeing a great improvement on my condition. I still experience lockings sometimes but they don’t hurt like before anymore. There are just also days when I get major discomfort as I can literally feel the splint repositioning my jaw. This is just actually the initial treatment that I’m undergoing. I’m aware it’s still a long way to go. Treating TMD takes a year or even longer. Anyway, I’ll be updating as soon as I get another type of treatment on December.
That’s all for now! Do you also experience TMD? I’ve been feeling alone and I’ve always thought like I am the only one who suffers with this disorder. But sure not. I know I have people out there who share the same condition as mine. We’re all in this together. I would love to hear from you! .
Thank you so much for stopping by!
I’ll see you on my next post ❤
Let’s stay connected:
Twitter | Instagram | Youtube