Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a painful condition. It involves the joint that opens and closes the mouth. The temporomandibular joints are the small joints in front of each ear. They attach the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. The disorder may affect the jaw joint or the muscles surrounding it.
A splint or mouth guard can be made to relax your jaw muscles. This will prevent clenching and grinding of your teeth. The guard is usually worn at night. Correction of bite abnormalities by a dentist or orthodontist is sometimes needed.
Surgical correction is a last resort. Many of the available procedures have not been well-studied for their effectiveness.
There are no guidelines for preventing TMD. If you have TMD, the following may help prevent symptoms:
Ask your dentist if you need a night guard for grinding and clenching of the teeth.
Try to limit jaw movements. Learn to relax your jaw. Block a yawn by putting your fist under your chin.
Avoid extensive movements of the jaw.
Don't chew gum.
Learn relaxation techniques. Develop effective ways to cope with stress.
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Haley DP, Schiffman EL, Lindgren BR, Anderson Q, Andreasen K. The relationship between clinical and MRI findings in patients with unilateral temporomandibular joint pain.
J Am Dent Assoc
*Updated section on
on 6/29/06 according to the following study, as cited by
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Turner JA, Mancl L, Aaron LA. Short- and long-term efficacy of brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients with chronic temporomandibular disorder pain: a randomized, controlled trial
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