Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a common concern for teenage kids, according to the American Association for Pediatric Dentistry. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a complex area of the face that connects the jaw bone, the pit of temporal bone, and connective tissue.

TMD can be painful or restrict movement of the jaw, which makes it a disorder that needs to be addressed as soon as signs of it appear. Other signs may include bruxism (biting or grinding your teeth at night), clicking noises when moving the jaw, dislocated or “locked” jaw, and more.

For many young adults, treating TMD can be relatively simple, given that the problem is identified sooner rather than later. You may be prescribed muscle relaxers for the pain, and you may receive dental appliances – like a bite guard – to help with the grinding or irregular biting movements.

For more serious cases, surgery may be needed to relocate the jaw. This is a more permanent way to realign the mouth and has a higher success rate of treatment. A headgear or even braces may also be used to help manage TMD.

Diagnosing TMD can be done by your family dentist, who can also give you more customized tips for managing TMD and the associated pain. However, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice signs or symptoms. As with any medical issue, the earlier you identify it, the easier it is to treat it.

What causes TMJ disorder?

There is no known, specific cause for TMJ disorder (or TMD), though many dentists will agree that some cases may arise from injury to the jaw, mouth, or neck. Other reasons may include arthritis, bruxism, or even imprecise previous orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontic treatment may make the teeth straight and give you a great smile, but if the bite is not aligned properly, TMD can develop. Evaluation of the bite may disclose an underlying trigger for the TMD and recommendations may be made by your dentist to tweak the orthodontic results, adjust the bite, or place a bite guard.

Whether you’re experiencing pain or have more questions, make plans to visit our Long Beach general family dentistry. Our experienced team has served the community for many years, and we’re happy to see you, as well.

Book online now with our scheduling system, or call us at 562-434-6414.