A patient having temporal mandibular dysfunction (tmd) can present with various signs and symptoms that include:
- Pain upon opening, limited range of movement and possibly locking of the jaw
- Popping, clicking and grating sounds with in the temporal mandibular joint (tmj)
- Myofacial pain where by the facial muscles including the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles) exhibit pain and/or spasm
- Parafunctional habits such as grinding or clenching of the teeth can be a symptom of tmd
- Poor occlusal relationships where the maxillary and mandibular teeth do not meet evenly.
- Developmental disorders and/or trauma to the face at a young age affecting the growth centers of the mandible (lower jaw) that result in a poor skeletal relationship with the maxilla (upper jaw).
Diagnosis can be made by:
- Taking a thorough medical and dental history and history of any traumas to the head, neck and face
- Radiographs including cone beam ct scans and if necessary mri of the tmj
- Exam of the head, neck and mouth
Treatment varies depending on the source and severity of the symptoms. patients with mild symptoms may be given custom made occlusal appliances to be worn when sleeping in order to align the mandible, reduce pressure within the tmj, reduce muscular tension and protect the teeth. Others may need the assistance of a physical therapist to treat muscle imbalances. In advanced cases where there is significant alteration to the anatomy of the tmj accompanied by severe pain surgical intervention may be necessary.