TMJ Treatment

What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to the two joints which are located in front of the ears and is positioned where the upper and lower jaws connect.

The TMJ disorder is when there are problems with the chewing muscles and joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull causing discomfort or pain and limiting jaw movements- whether it be to chew, swallow, talk, breath or yawn.

TMJ disorders are common, with about seven in ten people being affected at some time in their lives. It can cause different symptoms in different people that may vary from mild discomforts which may not need any treatment to severe pain.

Causes of TMJ Disorders:

Quite often the cause is unknown. However, the following factors can trigger or aggravate TMJ disorders:

  • Grinding or clenching of teeth which can be a chronic habit or linked to stress
  • Head or whiplash injuries
  • General medical conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Wrongly placed or shaped dental fillings, crowns or bridges
  • Missing teeth

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders:

You may have one or combination of the following symptoms in varying degrees.

  • · Clicking or grating noise from the joints
  • · Pain when opening the jaw widely, chewing or yawning
  • · Limited jaw movement
  • · Locked jaw
  • · Pain around the ears
  • · Frequent headaches, neck and shoulder aches

Diagnosis of TMJ Disorders:

A careful history taking in addition to a thorough clinical examination is necessary to ensure an accurate diagnosis. A plaster mould of your teeth as well as extra x- rays may be needed as well.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders:

A conservative treatment option will be given whenever possible as TMJ disorders are often temporary. Relief from symptoms may take time, especially if the problem has developed over a long period. Depending on the severity , it may also be necessary to call upon other health professionals such as a specialist in TMJ disorder.

Treatments may include:

  • Occlusal Splints (custom fit nightguards)
  • Education on prevention: diet and habit modification, relaxation and stress management, muscle relaxation with warm or cold packs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Medication for short term pain relief
  • Orthodontics may be recommended if the cause is related to the overall teeth position and alignment.

More Restorative and General Dental Services