Symptoms and Causes of TMD

Jeffrey Felzer, DMD pic

Jeffrey Felzer, DMD

The winner of several top dentist awards from Delaware Today, Dr. Jeffrey Felzer is based in a periodontics practice in Wilmington. Among the conditions Dr. Jeffrey Felzer treats is temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

The temporomandibular joint, which facilitates chewing, connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. Symptoms of TMD include problematic chewing, headaches, painful ears, or teeth grinding. Other indications may be pain associated with opening and closing the mouth, popping and clicking noises when opening, and the jaw becoming locked open or shut.

Normally, a small disk of cartilage keeps jaw motions smooth. TMD may result if this disk moves or erodes. A blow to the jaw or damage from arthritis may also be responsible – however, a single cause or causes is often unknown.

Risk factors for TMD include a long history of grinding or clenching one’s teeth, the presence of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, and certain diseases of connective tissue. Prolonged grinding itself leads to the erosion of enamel and the possibility of tooth decay.