You may experience temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD after an auto accident or a heavy blow.  Whiplash can cause TMD, and stress can lead to TMD issues as well.  It can affect both sides of your head, or you may only suffer one side.  TMD can last for years if left untreated.   

What is TMD?

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones of the skull.  It is the joint that lets you move your jaw.  When you are experiencing pain associated with your jaw and the muscles that control it, you are experiencing temporomandibular disorders (TMD).  Though sometimes the pain is referenced as TMJ after the temporomandibular joint, this is incorrect.  

A soft cartilage disk keeps the condyle and temporal bones from grating against each other.  This disc also serves to absorb the shock caused from chewing and other movements.  If the disc is damaged by a blow or impact, or the disc is jarred out if its proper alignment, you may experience painful TMD.

How to Tell if You are Suffering from TMD

You may experience one or many of the following:

  • Swelling – the area around your jaw or the side of your face may swell.  You may feel a lump in the temple area.
  • Pain or tenderness – you may experience pain at the joint or along the side of your face and particularly at the joint of the jaw.  You may also feel pain or along your neck and shoulders.  When you move your mouth to speak or chew you may feel pain around your ear. There may be discomfort or resistance when you try to open your mouth wide.
  • You may feel like your jaw is locked, or stuck.
  • You may have trouble chewing or feel like your upper and lower teeth do not fit properly together.
  • You may hear sounds when you chew or open and close your mouth.  This may sound like grating, popping or clicking, this may or may not be painful.
  • You may experience headaches in relation to your TMD pain.
  • Your face may feel tired or numb, you may also feel a tingling sensation.
  • In conjunction with TMD you may experience tooth aches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, earaches, neck aches, problems hearing, and upper shoulder pain.

If you are experiencing TMD you need to have the issue evaluated and begin treatment.  There are a few things you can do to try to minimize the pain and help to soothe the area until you can visit your chiropractor.  Try applying ice or cold packs to the joint of the jaw. Avoid hard foods and gum, choose softer foods and take small bites so you don’t have to stretch your jaw.

Our Hazelwood office can help you address the problem and treat the underlying issues causing you pain.  If you think you are suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder call our office at (314) 731-4201.  We service residents all over the Saint Louis metropolitan area including but not limited to Ferguson, Florissant, Hazelwood, Black Jack, Belefontaine Neighbors, Berkeley, Normandy, Overland, Bridgeton and Jennings and Spanish Lake.