When we think of oral health, we mostly think about cleaning our gums and teeth. However, caring for the jaw is also a critical component of oral and overall health. Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) can plague anyone, but the good news is that there are effective treatments that can restore normal function and provide relief.
TMDs are joint disorders that affect the jaw. The temporomandibular joint serves as a hinge and keeps your jaw connected to the temporal bones located in front of each ear. This jaw becomes active during activities like chewing, speaking, yawning, etc.
TMD Pain: The Causes
There are multiple factors that can lead to the development of TMDs. They include:
- Blow to the jaw area
- Clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth excessively
- Arthritis is the TMJ
- Tension of facial muscles
The Symptoms of TMDs
While TMDs do have symptoms, they can be similar to other disorders of the jaw and mouth, which can make it hard to diagnose them. Nevertheless, common symptoms include:
- Tenderness or pain in the jaw
- Difficulty in chewing
- Inability to open your mouth wide
- Cracking, popping or clicking noises when you open your mouth
TMDs: How they’re diagnosed
TMDs are generally diagnosed by dentists, who do it by checking your temporomandibular joint for any unusual sounds or movements. They will also check your jaw for proper functioning by opening and closing your mouth. Furthermore, your facial muscles will be checked for proper movement, and the dentist may also use x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to obtain the required information.
How Physical Therapy Can Help with TMDs
The right physical therapy program can alleviate pain and help you regain normal jaw movement. The focus of physical therapy for TMDs is stretching, relaxation, and releasing scar tissues and tight muscles. Physical therapy is often a vital component of post-THJ surgery rehabilitation as it helps in preventing muscle tightness and the formation of scar tissues. Physical therapy for TMDs may involve:
- Jaw exercises to improve muscle strength and flexibility
- Heat therapy for enhancing blood circulation in the jaw
- Ice therapy to relieve pain and reduce swelling
- Manual therapy to relieve muscle tension
- Exercises to correct jaw alignment and improve posture
ProMove PT Pain Specialists is a private physical therapy clinic in Bethesda that specializes in TMD Treatment. The clinic focuses on reliable treatment methods for best therapy care, under the supervision of the expert, Dr. Michelle Finnegan. Contact (301) 388-8822 for more information or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.