TMD is the syndrome that happens when the muscles in the jaw and the TMJ are out of alignment or misaligned, causing problems when chewing. In plain English, the ligaments, muscles, bones and joints do not line up, causing pain.
Some Symptoms Associated with TMD:
Clicking, popping or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
Headaches and/or dizziness
Tenderness in the jaw muscles
Jaws that sometimes lock open when yawning or if the mouth is held open
What causes TMD? These are the most common causes:
Developmental (natural) defects, including the wearing down of teeth or fillings causing a misalignment of the teeth
Stress that causes clenching of the jaws and fringing of the teeth
Naturally misaligned teeth
What can be done to Treat TMD?
If the TMJ area has been damaged by arthritis or as a result of an accident, surgery may be needed to correct the TMJ and re-establish the proper occlusion. Far more likely, your doctor will recommend a therapy that may include bite splints and specific exercises to keep the teeth from touching and to allow the joint to remain lined up, allowing the jaw’s hinge area to relax. Such therapy increases your comfort by diminishing the TMJ pain. If a splint is prescribed for you, it is very important that you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the amount of time and time of day you must wear it.
If your condition is a Tempromandibular Joint Disorder, you need to wear your splint all the time unless directed otherwise. The splint stops tooth-to-tooth contact and keeps your jaw lined up properly, allowing the muscles and joint area to heal. As this healing takes place and the symptoms gradually disappear, your doctor will adjust your splint to keep your teeth properly aligned. During this period of your therapy, you will begin wearing the splint fewer hours of the day and after a period of time; you will no longer need to wear a splint.
These conditions require you to wear your splint only at night, while sleeping.
Clean the splint by brushing it. Keep it in water and mouthwash solution when it is not in your mouth.