Oro-facial pain includes pain associated with joints, muscles and nerves anywhere in the head, neck, face, mouth, gums or teeth. Some people experience pain in the ears, eyes, sinuses, cheeks or side of the head, while others have muscle spasms, clicking when moving the jaw or locking of the jaw. One of the most common causes of oro-facial pain is temporo-mandibular joint disorder. Multi-disciplinary pain management (dental specialists, medical physicians, physiotherapists and psychologists) may be required as well as self-management at home.
WHAT IS TEMPORO-MANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER (TMD)?
TMD is a range of disorders, not one single entity. It can involve the muscles, the ligaments, the articulating disc, the bony joints or any combination of these. TMD can present on one side or both sides.
It can involve:
• Pain in the jaw, face, head and neck (and referred pain)
• Difficulty closing or opening the jaw
• Noises when moving the jaw
• Associated headaches
TMD is diagnosed by the associated history, signs and symptoms, an examination of the joints, muscles and joint movements, an evaluation of how the problem is affecting everyday life and may involve x-rays and other images.
TMD can be acute or can be a chronic problem that may have been present for many months or even years, and often the approach for each differs. More aggressive approaches may be implemented in acute cases. Whereas chronic pain is often requires more extensive input.
It is well understood that there is a bio-psycho-social model involved in TMD, as is with other chronic pain disorders. Addressing each of these components is the best way to help manage and reduce your symptoms.
ORO-FACIAL PAIN AND TMD