With the summer season almost over, are you missing out on eating your favorite juicy steak or burger? If so, that’s no fun at all! Summer is about grilling and enjoying your favorite foods on the grill, but if you can’t eat burgers, steak, corn on the cob, or other foods due to jaw pain, what fun is that?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a steak, hamburger or corn on the cob lover’s nightmare because it makes eating hard or chewy foods extremely difficult. Symptoms including headaches, pain with chewing, locking, clicking and jaw pain, interfere with the motion of the jaw and daily life in general.

TMD and Jaw Complications

Headaches associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)are generally one sided headaches that occur just in the front of the opening of the ear. From there it spreads and can be very debilitating. The pain worsens with chewing and is sometimes aided with heat or ice, as well as resting the jaw.

There are two types of TMD that can complicate your BBQ eating:

  • Myofascial – this is a tension disorder in which the muscles used for chewing become inflamed and full of spasms and trigger points. This is a common type of TMD and can occur as a result of stress, grinding of the teeth at night and is often easy to treat. By identifying myofascial TMD, it is important to rule out other sources of dysfunction.
  • Discogenic – this is when the jaw joint has suffered an injury or tear to the disc. When the disc is torn, it causes clicking, popping and locking. For this reason it is important to identify muscles that pull on the disc in spasm.

TMD Treatment Opportunities

For relief of myofascial TMD pain, it is important to treat the muscle by first identifying the amount of motion available in the jaw. This begins with massage, intra-oral massage, and gentle therapeutic exercise designed for the jaw. The most effective treatment for myofascial TMD is intra-oral massage.

Next, treatment for discogenic TMD often includes the creation of a night splint by a dentist. This form of treatment can be very effective for relief of pain. It allows the joint to settle into its normal anatomic position and to relax the surrounding musculature. A night splint fabricated by our office can be extremely effective in relieving the pain of TMD.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about TMD in Warrenton, and how you can enjoy the rest of your summer without missing another barbeque.