At Shenandoah Family Dentistry we know that TMD is a real pain in the jaw for many people today. This is because it occurs in your temporomandibular joint—the hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. Located directly in front of each of your ears, this joint is responsible for allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. It’s what lets you talk, chew, and yawn. There are many problems associated with this bone. These are often wrongly referred to as TMJ.
This is the most common complaint. It typically occurs in the masticatory and related muscles and can be present at any time—even when you’re not using your jaw. The duration ranges from momentary to constant, and its intensity ranges from mild to severe. Sometimes the pain resolves itself, but at other times it’ll persist for years.
You may experience a whole array of sounds—including clicking, popping, and crunching like you’re walking on wet sand at the beach. While this isn’t enough to diagnose you with TMD, it is problematic. However, it’s important to be quite clear that this is different from the normal variations that we as dentists expect to see in the physical characteristics of this joint. We realize that many people don’t have TMD even though their jaw joints often click. 25% of people without TMD still showed some clicking noises when evaluated by their dentist. It’s just more common among people who do have TMD—experienced by about 40% of patients in this population.
Limitation in Opening Your Mouth
You will be unable to open your mouth very wide without experiencing pain. Typically, this is because of muscle hyperactivity or strain. If you can’t open your mouth at least 40mm, it’s probably due to your articular disc being displaced or there being some muscle tension in this area. When this happens, you’ll have a deviation in opening that will cause you to experience pain. There are varying degrees of deviations that can occur when you have TMD.
Catching or Locking
This usually occurs when you open or close your mouth. There are a few different reasons why this may occur. Regardless of the reason behind it, what’s happening is that something is interfering with your ability to have smooth condylar movement. There are varying degrees at which this can occur—hence the catching to continually locking range of feelings. While what you experience here may be different from what other people experience here, the fact remains that you’re not alone. About 15% of TMD patients report having some type of an issue here.
Getting Help for Your TMD Symptoms
When you’re suffering from any of these issues, get in touch with us at Shenandoah Family Dentistry by dialing (540) 667-8731. We understand that these are unwanted symptoms that can inhibit your life. Together we can put an end to this, so you can get back to living the life you deserve.