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Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) - When To Call a Doctor

Call your dentist or doctor immediately if you have had an injury to your jaw or face and:

  • Your jaw is very painful.
  • Your jaw is locked open or shut, or you are unable to move your jaw easily or smoothly (a sign of disc displacement, dislocation, or fracture).
  • Your jaw appears to be deformed or swollen.
  • There is swelling in the sides of your face.
  • Your teeth no longer fit together normally when biting down (malocclusion).
  • A severe headache or neck ache strikes suddenly, without apparent cause, or is different from previous headaches.

Call your dentist or doctor if you:

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  • Have pain when moving your jaw (biting, chewing, swallowing, talking, or yawning) that is not getting better after 2 weeks of home treatment.
  • Have had jaw pain for a long time (chronic).
  • Have anxiety, stress, or work-related problems caused by your jaw discomfort and pain.
  • Continue to have symptoms (such as pain with clicking or cracking sounds or your jaw locks) after 2 weeks of home treatment.
  • Notice a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth.

Who to see

Your treatment for temporomandibular disorder (TMD) may involve several different health professionals.

Initial evaluation can be done by a:

Further diagnosis and treatment may be done by a:

  • Dentist who specializes in treating TMDs.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Facial pain expert.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Additional treatment may be provided by:

If a doctor suggests that you try a treatment that might make permanent changes to your jaw, be sure to get a second opinion.

Health and dental insurance plans might not cover diagnosis and treatment. Because some tests and treatments are quite expensive, you may want to check your coverage before incurring expenses.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 11, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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