By Dr. Nicole Mariano
Temporomandibular joint disease, also known as TMD, is a group of common conditions that causes pain in the ear, muscles of the head and neck, jaw joints and teeth. Most people have heard of TMD or at least someone who has a symptom of the disease. These include jaw pain, clicking and popping, clenching, ear pain and grinding. Sadly, temporomandibular joint pain has become a very prevalent issue in the United States. At least 10 million people have sought out medical and dental treatment for the issue.
TMD is caused by four different issues. These include but are not limited to:
- Teeth that do not fit together properly
- A small windpipe
- Top and bottom jaws that do not match in size
- A TMJ joint that is out of socket
If one or more of these issues occur in your mouth, it causes your bite to be off. In order to correct the issue, your jaw joint and facial muscles move the lower jaw into a different position to compensate for the problem. It is like how a person with a bad knee limps or changes their walk to compensate for the bad knee.