Basics and Prevention for TMD

One of the most serious potential issues many orthodontists deal with is a set of conditions called temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD. TMD issues result from a problem with the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge connecting the bones in your skull to the bones of your jaw.

At Bluffton Orthodontics, we’re here to help you prevent TMD from becoming a problem for yourself or anyone in your family. Here are the risk factors and symptoms for TMD, plus how to prevent it.

TMD Risk Factors

In general, women are at higher risk for TMD than males. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Other risk factors for TMD may include:

  • Arthritis in the jaw area, which can make movement much more difficult
  • Excessive tooth grinding, which will increase stress on the temporomandibular joint
  • General stress, which leads to clenching of the teeth and straining of the facial muscles

TMD Symptoms

Symptoms of TMD can range in length – some will last a short period, while others may be present for months or even years. If symptoms make it uncomfortable or impossible for you to eat normally, or if you have pain or discomfort that’s simply too much to bear, you should speak to your orthodontist right away. Symptoms can occur on both sides of the face, and can include:

  • Aching or tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to do anything about it
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew, or anytime you open or close your mouth
  • Pain in the entire mouth area, often brought on by chewing or yawning

TMD Prevention

Reducing the risk factors above is one way to prevent TMD. If you grind your teeth, for instance, ask your orthodontist about a mouth guard to wear at night. If you’re stressed, look for ways to manage this. In addition, many people trying to avoid TMD will limit chewing gum, which puts stress on the jaw.

For more on preventing TMD, or to find out about ceramic braces or any of our other braces services, speak to the experts at Bluffton Orthodontics today.

Bluffton Orthodontics Announces Winner of Free Braces Contest

McCracken Middle School Student Wins “New Smile for a New School Year” Contest, and Receives Free Set of Braces

For kids throughout the Lowcountry, the recent start of the new school year has meant new teachers, new school supplies and the onset of new school schedules and activities.  For one lucky 13 year old in Bluffton though, the new school year has also brought with it the opportunity to get the smile she has always wanted – making this school year probably the best one yet thanks to a contest created by Bluffton Orthodontics.

Bluffton Orthodontics, a new orthodontic practice that opened this summer at Buckwalter Place and headed by well-known orthodontist Dr. Bob Garrison, has announced that 13 year old Brianna Davis, a 7th grader at McCracken Middle School, was chosen as the winner of the “New Smile for a New School Year”contest.  The contest, which took place from August 1st through September 12th, generated dozens of entries, encouraged families to submit a contest entry form on the Bluffton Orthodontics Facebook page, with a winner being selected at random for the grand prize of a free set of braces (valued at approximately $5,000.)

“We have wanted to get Brianna braces for a few years, so when we heard about this contest it was the perfect opportunity for us,” said her mom Leea Davis.  “Brianna has always been hesitant about smiling because she wasn’t happy with her teeth.   I know that having a better smile with straight teeth will really increase her self-confidence, and we are thrilled for this opportunity to work with Dr. Garrison to give her the smile she’s always dreamed about.

Brianna, who loves science and art, spending time with her rescue dog Lulu and who wants to be a veterinarian, is excited to begin treatment with Dr. Garrison and Bluffton Orthodontics – as well as excited for the opportunity to wear pink rubber bands on her new set of braces.  In fact, mom Leah notes that the last time her daughter felt self-confident was a few years ago when she gave her permission to dye her hair bright pink – and both mother and daughter (as well as Dr. Garrison) are excited about the new self-confidence that she expects will result from the new smile made possible through Bluffton Orthodontics and this contest.

Bluffton Orthodontics, located at 337 Buckwalter Place Boulevard at Buckwalter Place (adjacent to Station 300) offers a full array of the latest advances in orthodontic care, including traditional metal braces, clear braces and clear aligners.  For more information about Bluffton Orthodontics, including a complete listing of treatments and innovations in orthodontics, visit or call 843-970-9316.