It’s the summertime, which means warm weather, sun shining and grilling. And what is a great thing to grill? A nice juicy steak! Now that sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It does, but if you suffer from jaw pain, it can prevent you from eating just about any of your favorite foods.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can be a steak lover’s nightmare. It is a disorder of the jaw, and the joints and muscles associated with the jaw, which makes eating hard or chewy foods extremely difficult. Symptoms including headaches, pain with chewing, locking, clicking and jaw pain, interfere with the motion of the jaw and daily life in general.

Why does TMD cause difficulties when chewing?

Headaches associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)are generally one sided headaches that occur just in the front of the opening of the ear. From there the pain spreads and can be very debilitating, worsening with chewing. It can also sometimes be relieved with heat or ice, as well as resting the jaw.

A myofascial type of TMD is a tension disorder in which the muscles used for chewing become inflamed, and full of spasms and trigger points. This is a common type of TMD and can occur as a result of stress, grinding of the teeth at night and is often easy to treat. By identifying myofascial TMD, it is important to rule out other sources of dysfunction.

Another form of TMD is discogenic, which is when the jaw joint has suffered an injury or tear to the disc. When the disc is torn, it causes clicking, popping and locking. For this reason it is important to identify muscles that pull on the disc in spasm.

What treatment options are available?

For relief of myofascial TMD pain, it is important to treat the muscle by first identifying the amount of motion available in the jaw. This begins with massage, intra-oral massage, and gentle therapeutic exercise designed for the jaw. The most effective treatment for myofascial TMD is intra-oral massage.

Next, treatment for discogenic TMD often includes the creation of a night splint by a dentist. This form of treatment can be very effective for relief of pain. It allows the joint to settle into its normal anatomic position and to relax the surrounding musculature. A night splint fabricated by our office can be extremely effective in relieving the pain of TMD.

Contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on TMD in Atlanta and appropriate treatment options. With proper treatment, you can find relief from your TMD pain in Atlanta.