What is TMJD?

Temporomandibular joint disease, also known as TMJ or TMJD, is a complex condition that affects the joint between your skull and your jawbone. This joint normally slides smoothly like a hinge, but TMJD pulls it out of alignment. You will hear clicking or popping when you chew, you might feel pain in your jaw and ear, and you could even find it difficult to fully open your mouth.

Although stress is often implicated in TMJD due to anxiety sufferers’ tendency to clench their teeth, it is not usually the root cause. Instead, TMJD usually occurs when the top and bottom teeth are improperly aligned. When you chew, your muscles will attempt to compensate for this misalignment, pulling and stretching the joint.

The best treatment is to relax the joint by correcting the misalignment. This could be fairly easy or extremely difficult, depending on the root cause and how long you have had TMJD. While undergoing treatment, you can make lifestyle adjustments to ease the pain. These include eating a primarily soft diet, consciously relaxing your jaw, improving your posture, and minimizing activities that strain the jaw such as yelling and singing.

Your dentist will carefully examine your mouth and jaw, and develop a personalized treatment plan. TMJD can worsen over time, but proper treatment can stop and even reverse the damage.

At Family Dental Care of Bellevue, we are committed to providing quality dental care to our patients and their families. We are proud to have been voted one of the best dental offices in Washington State. If you are ready to take the first steps toward improving your dental health, we invite you to call 425-643-5778 today to make an appointment for your initial consultation.