Sean P. Drower, DMD PC

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD)

How can we help you?

Educating patients about their dental health is one of our top priorities. Understanding the procedures we perform and why we perform them is an important first step in giving you more control and a greater voice in your own healthcare.

We welcome and encourage questions from our patients. Take a look through our list of questions patients often ask. If your question is not answered here, please give us a call or contact us online so that we may further assist you.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD)

Chronic jaw pain is one of the key symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, often abbreviated as TMJ or TMD. Other symptoms of this uncomfortable and serious condition include:

  • Clicking, popping, or grating in the joint
  • A tendency for your jaw to get stuck in one position
  • A sensation of fatigue in your face
  • Swelling near the joint
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder, neck, and facial pain

Jaw pain is often one of the most common first symptoms of TMD. It may start by being intermittent and then worsen over time. Jaw pain, especially when you wake up in the morning, is a good indicator that you are grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding can also be a symptom of TMD and is easily treated with appliance therapy.

If your jaw pain lasts for more than a couple of days, gets worse, or returns after it went away, that is a good indication that you should have your jaw joints evaluated. The appointment is relatively easy, non-invasive, and can provide you with the answers you are looking for.

If you are experiencing chronic jaw pain or any of these other symptoms, please call today for an appointment to get your condition diagnosed and treated.

A nightguard can help restore the health and comfort of your jaw joint. When people suffer from TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders), it means that their jaw joints have gotten out of their ideal position in some way. Often times, because of swollen and tense muscles, it is difficult for your jaw to relax.

A nightguard, or splint, may help your jaw to relax into a more comfortable position. This allows the tension and swelling from your muscles to decrease and helps gain more flexibility.

Once your muscles are relaxed, your nightguard can be adjusted in such a way that it holds your jaw in a stable and comfortable position while your sleep. You should wake up feeling more refreshed and rested when your jaw is comfortable throughout the night.

Nightguards also have the added benefit of protecting your teeth from nocturnal bruxism, or excessive clenching and grinding. If you are left to grind your teeth all night, you could cause them to break, crack, split, or get worn down and shortened. Bruxism can also create tooth sensitivity and recession of your gums.

If you experience the symptoms of TMD or bruxism, call our Keene, NH office today to schedule an evaluation. Dr. Sean Drower can help restore your health and comfort through effective treatment of your TMD.

Bruxism, or the excessive grinding and clenching of your teeth, may be related to your TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), though it is not the same thing.

Sometimes patients clench or grind their teeth without ever experiencing full-blown TMD, though it comes with its own risks. Bruxism can cause headaches and damage to your teeth by cracking them or wearing them down.

Often, an appliance is recommended to protect your teeth, just like with TMD. That way, while you are sleeping, your teeth are not pounding together, causing more damage. Because the appliance, or nightguard, is made from a softer material than your enamel, it provides enough cushion and support to protect your teeth. If you clench or grind your teeth, investment in a nightguard now could save you money in the end by helping you avoid expensive crowns and repairs to your damaged teeth.

Caffeine use, alcohol use and stress can all contribute to worsening bruxism. Cutting down on drinking cocktails and coffee is a good start. Learning to manage stress can help you in many ways, including reducing how much you grind your teeth.

If you wake up in the morning with a sore face, headache, or sensitive teeth, contact Dr. Sean Drower and we will schedule a TMD evaluation where we can discuss your symptoms and conditions regarding TMD and bruxism and get you feeling comfortable again.

Numerous factors can affect the health of your temporomandibular joint and cause TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). Your jaw joint is a complex system of bone, cartilage, tendons, and muscles. If one part of the system is out of whack, it can create a ripple effect of problems.

If you suffer from malocclusion, or a bad bite, and your teeth cannot come together properly, the inability for your jaw to find its ideal position can create TMD. Dr. Sean Drower can evaluate your bite and make sure that when you close all the way, it is not adding any extra strain to your jaw.

If you are a heavy bruxer, or teeth grinder, you may be doing more damage than you know. Your jaw is incredibly strong and the full force of its power can create damage in your jaw joint, facial muscles, teeth, and cause headaches. If you wake up in the morning with sore teeth or headaches, you should have an evaluation to determine the cause.

Sometimes trauma from a car accident or sports injury can cause TMD. If you suddenly have problems opening or closing your mouth or if your teeth come together differently than before, call our office to schedule an exam with Dr. Sean Drower. His skills and expertise can help restore your health and make you feel comfortable again.

When your jaw joint is not functioning ideally, it can create a number of problems. TMJ is actually your temporomandibular joint. Having a problem with your TMJ is often called TMJD or TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder.

TMD covers a number of different problems. Some of the main symptoms include:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling near the jaw joint
  • Clicking, popping or grinding
  • Sounds like sand when you open or close your mouth
  • Locking open or closed
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Inability to close your teeth together properly

When caught early, the symptoms of TMD are treatable through non-invasive appliance therapy, like wearing a nightguard. A nightguard also has the added benefit of protecting your teeth if you clench or grind while you sleep.

If left untreated, your symptoms and condition may worsen and require a surgery called arthrocentisis, or reconstructive surgery. Leaving your symptoms untreated can also severely affect your quality of life by disrupting your sleep, causing pain, creating dental problems, and causing unnecessary stress.

Dr. Sean Drower has received specialized training to treat your TMD symptoms effectively. If you believe you suffer from TMD, call our Keene, NH office to schedule an evaluation to restore your jaw joint health and bring comfort back to your life.

Not finding what you need?
If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (603) 357-0230
View the ADA Accessibility Statement
Disclaimer: The information throughout this site is not intended to be taken as medical advice.