TMJD is a problem in the joint where the jawbone meets the skull. Clicking, popping, pain, and a clenched jaw are all signs of TMJD.
Doctors don't always know how to cure TMJD, but they do have many ways to treat the symptoms.
Doctors define TMJD as pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint.
It's a common problem that affects up to 12 million adults in the U.S. each year. More women than men get TMJD, but doctors aren't sure why.
The temporomandibular joints are in front of each ear. Sometimes, the muscles that control the jaw become tense. This tension can disrupt how the jaw moves.
TMJD may go away on its own without treatment.
For some people, it's a mild issue that comes and goes throughout their lifetime. For others, it can be a debilitating problem that requires treatment.
Doctors don't often know what causes TMJD.
It may stem from an injury or infection of the jaw area.
Other factors that may cause TMJD are:
Although doctors can't always pin down the cause of TMJD, risk factors include having:
Complications of TMJD can include:
TMJD symptoms can be mild or severe
They may occur for a while and go away on their own with no treatment. Or they may worsen as time goes on.
If you think you have TMJD, it's vital to see a doctor. Early treatment can help ease pain and stiffness in the jaw.
TMJD symptoms include pain:
You may also have:
One note: Clicking or popping noises in the jaw without pain aren't TMJD, so there's no cause for concern.
There's not a single test for TMJD.
Your doctor may run tests to rule out other causes of jaw pain, such as:
To diagnose TMJD, your doctor may:
At UPMC, we offer different types of TMJD treatments.
Your treatment will depend on your issue. We always start with the simplest, most conservative treatments.
Your doctor may suggest starting with self-care treatments at home. For many people, this is enough to ease their symptoms.
When TMJD symptoms flare up, your doctor may suggest:
If self-care treatments don't help your TMJD, physical therapy may be the answer.
The experts at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute can help ease pain and restore normal jaw movement.
The goals of physical therapy for TMJD are to:
Physical therapy for TMJD includes exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles and improve range of motion in the jaw.
Our physical therapists may also use:
Home treatments and physical therapy are often enough to ease the pain of TMJD.
If those treatments don't help, your doctor may suggest other options like: