Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) describe a set of conditions that involve trouble with your jaw and face muscles. They result from a problem in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is a hinge that connects the temporal bones, in your skull in front of each ear, to your jaw. The joint enables you to talk, yawn, and chew by letting your mouth move.

Symptoms of TMD can last for just a short while, or for several years. Visiting Dr. Adelson is important if your symptoms make it impossible for you to eat regularly or if you have unbearable pain or discomfort. The following symptoms can occur on both or one side of your face:

  • Aching or very tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to unlock them
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew or close or open your mouth
  • Pain in the entire area, including the mouth, jaw, neck, or shoulders, that comes on when you chew or yawn

You can try to prevent TMD by focusing on reducing risk factors. If you grind your teeth at night, ask Dr. Adelson about wearing a mouth guard. If you are overly stressed, look into ways to better manage your stress and relax your muscles. Another strategy for trying to prevent the development of TMD is to avoid chewing gum, since that puts stress on your jaw. If you have questions about TMD, don’t hesitate to contact Adelson Institute.