The temporomandibular joint is what connects your jaw to your skull. It’s what allows you to move your jaw up, down, left, and right, so you can talk and chew. When there is a problem with this joint, you may have what is called a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
 
Most commonly, symptoms of TMDs include pain in the area around the ear, jaw joint, jaw muscles, face, or temples. Other possible symptoms are a popping noise when chewing or yawning, neck pain, and headaches. If you have any of these symptoms, make sure to inform your dentist and your doctor.
 
Exactly what causes TMDs is often difficult to determine, but in most cases they are caused by multiple factors, including joint disease, jaw injuries, arthritis, teeth grinding, and stress. Usually, TMDs heal without much assistance, but using a cold or warm compress on the affected area can help ease the pain. Try not to open your mouth too wide or bite together too hard, keep your jaw relaxed.
 
If after an examination it’s determined that treatment for a TMD is necessary, your dentist will create a plan that may include relaxation techniques, referrals to other types of doctors, medicine, or wearing a night guard. Here at the Rideau Dental Centre, we have dentists who have developed an expertise in diagnosing and treating TMDs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by calling 613-230-7475.