You may notice a clicking sound when you’re chewing or talking. It may not be loud enough for others to hear, but you can definitely hear it. Annoying, right? This clicking may be associated with something called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, otherwise known as TMD. Don’t fret, there are ways to lessen the sensation and sounds of the clicking!
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder occurs when the joint connecting your jaw to your skull is not functioning properly. This joint acts as a sliding hinge, so when it’s not performing at its best, it can be both painful and annoying to the individual. This disorder causes pain, inflammation, facial or ear pain, clicking or locking of the jaw, and difficulty chewing. While not all symptoms may be present for TMD to be diagnosed, this disorder can get worse if not treated properly. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the case, so it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor.
Treatment plans to fit your case
When talking to your doctor, be sure to inform them of all the symptoms you’re experiencing. After a full exam, your doctor will be able to establish a treatment plan to ease your pain and discomfort. For milder cases, your doctor may prescribe a mild anti-inflammatory drug to calm down the inflammation and lessen your pain.
If you’re looking for a medicine-free plan, your doctor can order you a mouth guard or oral splint, used to release some of the pressure put on your jaw. In addition to this mouthpiece, you can also get started with some physical therapy to increase strength and movement in your jaw joint.
If these standard procedures aren’t cutting it, your doctor may recommend a surgery or injection. Injections are inserted into the joint to help ease the pain. Surgeries such as Arthrocentesis allow an irrigation of liquid to flow through the joint, removing any debris or inflammation. For more serious cases, a full joint replacement may be considered.
A pain-free future
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms described, it is important to take note and contact your doctor. If left untreated, mild symptoms can turn into serious cases. This pain could be keeping you away from your favorite foods, don’t let that happen!
Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in Scottsdale to learn more about your risk for TMD and what treatment options are available.