Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
The course of temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) caused by muscle tension varies depending on the cause of the muscle tension.
- If muscle tension is related to a one-time overuse injury (such as holding your mouth open for a long time during a dental exam), the pain and discomfort may go away without treatment.
- If there is long-lasting (chronic) muscle tension due to stress, anxiety, an injury or blow to the jaw, or habits like grinding the teeth during sleep, treatment (including changing certain habits) may relieve pain and discomfort. If chronic muscle tension is not treated, it may gradually cause changes in the joint structure or Reference osteoarthritis Opens New Window.
TMDs caused by problems in the Reference structure of the jaw joint Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window may:
- Respond well to nonsurgical treatment, if treated early.
- Get worse, if not treated. Long-term consequences include injury to the disc or other tissues in the joint, arthritis, or chronic pain.
In some cases, TMDs can be extremely painful and disabling and last a long time. Such Reference chronic pain Opens New Window can affect a person's overall quality of life by increasing stress, making it hard to do a job, and interfering with personal life. Depression and anxiety are common results of chronic pain. Treatments may not relieve pain due to the lasting psychological and biological impact of chronic pain. These biological effects can lead to a sense of helplessness and biochemical changes in the body that perpetuate pain. In these cases, it is especially important to seek treatment for TMD pain and for related depression and anxiety.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry