Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful problem of the joint in the jaw. These are the small joints in front of each ear. They attach the lower jaw to the skull. TMD may be in the joint in the jaw or the muscles around it.
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The cause of TMD is often not clear. It may be due to:
TMD is more common in women aged 30-50 years old. Other things that raise your chance of TMD are:
TMD may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may mean:
Pictures may be needed of your jaw to check for abnormalities causing TMD. This can be done with:
The most basic treatments will be tried first. This may mean:
The site will need time to heal:
The most often used medicines are:
Some medicine may be injected into the jaw such as:
To help lower pain and let muscles relax:
Counseling may help you learn how to manage stress and relax with:
A splint or mouth guard can be made to relax the jaw muscles and prevent the teeth from clenching and grinding. The guard is usually worn at night. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of proof it works.
Correction of bite abnormalities by a dentist or orthodontist may be needed.
Surgery is a last resort. Many of the current surgeries have not been well-studied.
There is no way to prevent TMD.
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
The TMJ Association
Canadian Dental Association
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery
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Last reviewed June 2018 by James P. Cornell, MD Last Updated: 7/16/2018