What is acute TMD?
Acute TMD is a general term used to describe pain that is coming from the jaw muscles, jaw joints, or surrounding structures. The joint we are referring to is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) — the joint on each side of your head in front of your ears, where your lower jawbone meets your skull. This joint allows you to talk, chew, and yawn. If not caused by an injury then most acute TMD are actually just flare-ups of chronic TMD. TMD disorders can mostly be attributed to sore and over-worked muscles but there are many possible causes. The acute phase is initially treated basically the same no matter the cause.
- Facial pain. 40% get. Made worse
by opening and closing the jaw. Myofascial pain is very tricky and can present itself in very unusual ways. Click here to learn more
- Headaches. Nearly 80% of TMD patients get
- Ear pain. 50% In front of and below your ear. You can feel the joint moving with your finger when you open in this area.
- Dizziness 40%
- Fullness of ears or ringing in the ear=tinnitus or itchy ear
- Jaw popping or clicking very common more info here
Treatment for acute TMD
Bottom line for acute TMD treatment
- Take 600mg ibuprofen three times a day until symptoms are gone, up to 10 days. Sometimes we recommend the 3x3x3 rule instead, because it is very easy to remember and follow.
- Use heat or ice pack 10-15 minutes at a time 1-10 times a day
- Oral habit awareness. Set timer to go off as cue to be sure teeth not touching and tongue resting in floor of mouth.
- Stop chewing gum, ice, or any chewy or hard foods.
- Massage the sore muscles.
- Passive stretching 2-5 times a day. Holding 30 seconds each time.
- Take Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) 10mg at night. Can take 10mg in morning too but has side effects!
- If the pain is persistent and continues for more than 10 days we want a phone call.
- Unfortunately once you start getting acute TMD you will experience more issues in the future so typically either a NTI night guard or a traditional night guard will be made depending on your clenching/grinding habits
flexeril main side effects are drowsiness, dizziness and lightheadedness
do not take flexeril with alcohol or if have taken MAO inhibitors within 14 days