An estimated 15% of American adults suffer from jaw pain, headaches and other chronic facial pain.

Normal TMJ vs. Dysfunction

Animations provided to Dr. Stephen Miller courtesy of Bite FX LLC

Signs & Symptoms of TMD

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to a range of conditions affecting the TM joints, muscles and/or facial nerves. Patients affected by TMD will often exhibit different symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose.

Common Signs & Symptoms of TMD

  • Jaw pain
  • Abnormal jaw movements such as catching, locking or shifting upon opening
  • Limited mobility in the jaw
  • Joint noises, often described as clicking, popping or grating
  • Para-functional habits such grinding & clenching
  • Neck and/or shoulder Pain
  • Headaches
  • Earaches or feeling of fullness in the ears

Managing Jaw Pain

Only use your jaw in the pain free range. If your jaw hurts when you use it, your muscles may tighten and cause more pain. Just like running on a sprained ankle, overuse of jaw muscles and joints delays healing and may cause re-injury.

Here are some suggestions to promote your recovery:

  • Limit your mouth opening to a pain-free range.
  • Limit mouth opening when yawning by supporting your chin with your hand.
  • Consume a soft diet (avoid firm, chewy foods. Do not bite into apples or carrots).
  • Use slow chewing strokes and smaller bites.
  • Avoid parafunctional habits such as chewing gum, biting fingernails, daytime grinding or clenching, biting pen/pencils and pushing tongue against teeth.
  • Limit musical instrument playing and singing to pain free periods.
  • When possible, avoid jaw joint clicking.
  • Wear your bite splint, as directed.

Learn More About TMJ Disorder

Schedule a TMJ Consultation

If you are suffering from TMJ pain, facial pain or headaches, contact our Asheville dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephen Miller. He will evaluate your condition and recommend the best treatment plan. Call 828.348.8858 or request an appointment online.

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