The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short, is the joint responsible for opening and closing your mouth. TMD, or Temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when this joint is not functioning properly. Patient’s typically experience pain and discomfort in front of the ear and along the jaw, both at rest and when moving the mouth.
Approximately 50% of all cases of TMD are the result of pain/tightness in muscles used to open and close the jaw. (Marbach, 1982) Why is this important? Muscle pain and joint restriction can be managed with physical therapy. Reducing tension in the muscles involved in closing the jaw can easily reduce pain and improve the ability to eat, speak, and perform everyday activities without pain.
There are certainly alternatives to TMD treatment. Depending on the severity, an oral surgery consultation may be considered. Dental providers may also suggest injections as well as customized mouthguards for TMD relief. If you are considering these options, discuss them with Dr. Glackin during your first evaluation. Dr. Glackin is properly equipped with the knowledge to know whether your condition will respond to conservative treatment or whether a surgical consult is necessary.