Let’s take a look at temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD is a problem affecting the muscles and joints between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. Up to 30% of adults will experience TMD at some point in their lives. The condition itself isn’t usually serious, and the symptoms – pain, jaw joint clicking or popping, and difficulties eating – usually resolve in a few months. The Temporomandibular joint is a simple meeting of 2 bones, with a complicated pattern of movements, including both hinging and sliding; the latter of which can easily go wrong as a result of tension in the muscle that controls the sliding of the disc material.
You can help your TMD to recover more quickly by reducing the things that aggravate it – so eating softer foods, trying not to yawn too widely, chew gum or resting your chin on your hands. You can also try to relieve any stress that you’re under; give yourself a massage to the muscles of the jaw (from the temple running down to the angle of the jaw line); or try ice or heat therapy to see if that helps.
In more severe cases, your dentist may have you bite on a splint to open up the joint of the jaw to relieve pressure, or a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding; a chiropractor may provide some massage to the muscles inside the mouth; or a massage therapist to those same muscles that you can massage yourself on the outside.