What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?

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What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?

Your temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull. You may not be aware of how dependent you are on its normal function until pain or discomfort make difficult work of usually simple tasks. Dr. Carol Cunningham of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, can help you become better informed on TMD.


The abbreviation TMD refers to the disorder that affects the normal movement of your temporomandibular joint.

Common symptoms include an audible clicking or popping sound from your jaw, as well as pain at the joint that may expand onto surrounding areas. In some cases, it can cause your jaw to shift, and your teeth to misalign.

To diagnose, your doctor will check for the above symptoms, and order imaging tests to further examine your ailment.

Common Causes

Several factors can be to blame for TMD, though determining the exact one may be difficult:

  • If you've recently been injured that would be an easy enough cause to spot.
  • Other causes include arthritis, grinding or clenching, orthodontic braces, and bone defects at birth.
  • Lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress has also been linked to the disorder.


Your doctor may recommend medication for inflammation and plain, as well as to relax the muscles supporting your jaw.

Bite guards can prevent grinding and in rare cases, surgery may be necessary. Such as corrective dental treatment to realign your teeth and improve your bite.

Only by contacting your doctor can you find out what's best for you.

At home, you can help by reducing stress on your jaw. You can do so by avoiding foods that are hard to chew, avoid gum in general, and use ice to minimize swelling.

TMD Treatment in Decatur, IL

If the symptoms sound familiar it's best to contact Dr. Carol Cunningham of Gentle Art of Dentistry today. Dial (217) 422-7448 in Decatur, IL, to make an appointment.