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Understanding TM Disorders

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a common subgroup of Orofacial Pain Disorders. TMD Symptoms include pain or discomfort in or around the ear, jaw joint, and/or muscle of the jaw, face, temples, and neck on one or both sides. The pain may arise suddenly and progress with fluctuating frequency and intensity over months to years. Clicking, popping, grating (crepitus), locking, limited opening or deviating jaw movement, chewing difficulties, and headache are also associated with TMD.

 It may be recommended that you wear an orthotic (also known as a splint, bite guard) that fits over either your upper or lower teeth. An orthotic has many different uses and can be worn either full time or part time, depending on what your doctor determines is best for you. Generally, orthotics are used to keep the teeth apart, realign the jaw joints, and help the jaw muscles relax. The specific design and adjustment of your orthotic will depend upon your condition, how it changes during the time you wear your orthotic, and your overall treatment plan. The doctor may also recommend physical therapy, acupuncture, or medications. 

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