Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints, sometimes caused by abnormal habits like teeth grinding and clenching, can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Temporomandibular pain may also be TMD, a disorder of the jaw joint which results in chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. Dr. Kozica has more than 20 years of experience treating TMD, and offers a variety of different appliances and treatments that can help or alleviate the problem.
How can you identify TMD?
In the mornings, you should check for tenderness or pain in or around the ears, tight or sore jaw muscles, headaches, neck aches, and extra-sensitive teeth. You may also notice clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves, swelling on the sides of the face, muscle spasms in the jaw area, a change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth, or even locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth.
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact our Worcester dental office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kozica. During your TMD evaluation, Dr. Kozica will do a complete joint evaluation and listen to your concerns before making a recommendation based on your individual symptoms.
To prevent TMD:
- Relax your face — remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing
- Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
- Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Remember, to maintain overall oral health, everyone should visit our Worcester dental office at least twice a year for cleanings, as well as follow-ups to TMD symptoms or other dental concerns. We look forward to seeing you!