Personalized & Comfortable Dental Care, with offices in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Arco.

Personalized & Comfortable Dental Care, with offices in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Arco.

TMD: What You Need to Know

woman with jaw and tooth pain

If you have jaw pain, earaches and frequent headaches you might be suffering from temporomandibular disorder. It’s hard to believe, but I’m here to tell you that you may actually have a disorder that you’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce. Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD to us simpletons, is a very common disorder that often goes undiagnosed and untreated.

What is TMD?

TMD is a general diagnoses that encompasses problems associated with the temporomandibular joint: the joint that connects the jaw to the bones of the skull. TMD is also sometimes referred to as TMJ after the joint. This joint is right in front of your ears and gives you the ability to talk and chew. For proper function, the joint of the jaw needs a lot of assistance from facial muscles. Because of this TMD causes a slew of problems extending to the ears and even down the neck.

Sometimes it can feel like an earache. Often times it leads to an outright headache. Temporal Mandibular Disorder causes pain and is often either referred to as TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint) or TMD (Temporal Mandibular Disorder). The acronyms both refer to that pain right behind the base of your ear where your jaw moves upward.

This is the joint that allows your jaws to open, close, and move sideways. If this joint is disrupted in its movement abilities, you can experience pain as frequent headaches, bothersome clicking and popping in the jaw, or pain in the face, neck, or even down through your shoulders.

Often times if individuals are experiencing the side effects of a misalignment in their temporomandibular joint that mostly show through as headaches or shoulder pain, they will go see a family or clinic doctor first. If you notice that when you eat chewy food that your jaw gets tired or if it’s practically impossible to finish a whole steak just because your jaw gets tired, you might very well have a misaligned joint. There are different areas in your mouth that can cause this, but your dentist will have to see your mouth to know exactly what kind of treatment you need.

There are many different possible causes, and a variety of symptoms making TMD very difficult to diagnose. MD’s, ENT’s and dentists can all get involved before a proper solution can be reached. To find a solution you need to properly identify a cause so that you can stop it at the source. While TMD is something specialists are still trying to understand, there are several known causes.

Possible Causes

  • Injury
  • Grinding teeth
  • Clenching jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Sleep Apnea


  • General Pain
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty opening mouth wide
  • Jaw “locking” in open or closed position
  • Clicking or popping jaw
  • Tired face muscles
  • Uncomfortable or unnatural bite
  • Swelling

TMD Treatment in Idaho Falls

3 Home Remedies for Temporal Mandibular Disorder (TMD)


1. Hot Washcloth

Try warming up some water to a level that will not burn you. Soak a hand towel or washcloth in the water than mostly ring it out. With your head face down, drape the warm cloth over your neck, jaw and face. The warm cloth will help you relax the muscles around that joint that are probably causing the misalignment and thus will alleviate some pain.

2. Avoid Chewy Foods

…and say ‘goodbye’ to gum. Every time you use those muscles when they are already tired, you’re not giving them a chance to repair. Until you can get to the dentist, try to choose foods that are easiest to eat. Sucking through straws and smoking should also be avoided.

3. Anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatories might help reduce swelling and pain. You should check with your primary doctor before taking any medication, but this might help relieve some jaw pain until you can get it looked at by a specialist.

At Eagle Rock Dental Care we understand the inconvenience that comes with temporomandibular disorders. We are here to help you find the source of your pain and lead you to a solution. We can fit you for a perfectly molded night-guard to prevent clenching and grinding at night and to give the sore muscles a break. Let us be your pros for TMD treatment. Contact us or schedule your appointment online today!

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