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Joint problems: Caution in treating temporomandibular disorders

Updated: May 01, 2007

Joint problems

Caution in treating temporomandibular disorders

You may be ready to try anything for relief. But unproven fixes can cause greater injury and disability.

For most of us, jaw pain is a fleeting experience — caused, perhaps, by a too-wide yawn, a big bite on a bagel, or an afternoon of dental work. But for women with temporomandibular disorders (TMD), jaw pain — sometimes radiating to the ear, eyes, face, neck, and shoulders — can be a source of unrelenting misery. In desperation, some women have undergone extensive orthodontia, used a variety of oral appliances, or had teeth ground down or selectively removed. None of these approaches has any proven benefit in treating TMD. Other women have received artificial implants that were never tested for safety or effectiveness, sometimes with disastrous results.

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