Temporomandibular Pain Dysfunction Syndrome (TMD)
This is surprisingly common especially in young adults with females predominating about 4:1. It is a complicated name that describes pain that arises either because the chewing muscles cramp, or because the joint between the jaw and the base of the skull doesn’t function properly. The muscles that move the jaw have a different type of muscle fibres compared to say the leg muscle. When you get a cramp in the leg muscle which most of us have experienced from time to time it you get an acute pain that makes you jump around in agony having to stretch the muscle to relieve it. When you get a cramp in the muscles that move the jaw it is a low grade pain like a headache most commonly felt in the cheek (masseter) muscle or the temple area on the side of the head (temporalis muscle).
If you over using the muscles because of clenching your teeth – which commonly happens during the day, or grinding your teeth – which usually happens at night the muscles cramp and cause the headache type of pain. If it occurs in the cheek people commonly think that the wisdom teeth are causing the pain! Other symptoms include clicking grating or locking of the temporomandibular joint (TMD), and other pains around the shoulder girdle, and sometimes more bizarre symptoms like tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Come and see me and I will help you to settle the problem, we do this by analyzing your bite, helping you to understand the consequences, giving you ways to prevent the problem and occasionally fabricating an custom made occlusal splint for you to wear at night.