Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly referred to as TMD, occurs when there is pain and discomfort caused by dysfunction of the jaw and the surrounding muscles or ligaments which control jaw movement. If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, simply give us a call on 08 9440 4455 or request an appointment with our friendly dental professionals today.
WHAT IS TMJ DISORDER?
Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the hinge-like ball and socket that connects your lower jaw to the bones in your skull. It is one of the most important joints in your body which allows you to talk, eat, yawn and laugh. If you find that your jaw and teeth are out of alignment, it can be quite painful and a TMJ disorder may be the cause. This disorder is typically classified
2. Internal derangement of the joint – this is the most common type of TMJ Disorder and occurs when the discs inside our jaw move out of place, obstructing the smooth sliding movement when we open our mouth. This can create a clicking sound and pain when moving the jaw. Internal derangement is often caused by injury, overuse of the jaw and everyday wear and
3. Inflammatory joint disease – TMJ Disorders can sometimes go hand-in-hand with other inflammatory joint conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. This type of TMJ disorder can occur at any stage of life and pain is often
TMJ DISORDER FAQs
How is TMJ Disorder treated?
TMJ disorder has a wide range of overlapping symptoms with other disorders which can make diagnosis and treatment challenging. While most muscular and joint symptoms do get better over time, there are a number of oral health and home remedies which may help to relieve some of the tooth, jaw and ear pain as well as treat the condition:
Eat soft foods – this is an easy one that you can do at home. By eating soft foods such as yoghurt, mashed veggies, soup, scrambled eggs and beans, this will help to minimise your chewing and allow your jaw to heal. Most people find that their symptoms subside after following a strict soft food diet for a few weeks however others may need to continue the diet for a bit longer.
Apply ice packs or warm compresses – Another easy one – simply apply an ice pack or warm compress to the side of your face for five to 10 minutes. Try doing this a couple of times per day depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Medications – There are a number of different medications which may help to relieve or treat your symptoms of TMJ Disorder. This includes over the counter anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or Ibuprofen for easing muscle pain and swelling. Muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medicines and anti-depressants may also help but are only available with a prescription from your doctor.
Splints – A temporomandibular joint dysfunction splint or appliance is a custom-made removable acrylic device designed to fit the upper and lower arches of your teeth. By guiding your jaw into a neutral position, splints provide an easy and cost-effective way to help relieve pressure off the jaw joints and prevent further damage as a result of grinding and clenching.
Other treatment options – Many people find success with the TMJ splint therapy however If all else fails, our dental professionals may recommend other alternative therapies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound treatment, trigger point injections and/or acupuncture with a specialist orofacial doctor.
The best way to determine the most effective treatment for you is to come in for a chat with one our friendly dental professionals. Simply give us a call on 08 9440 4455 or request an appointment to have your Temporomandibular Joint checked today.
How long will it take for my TMJ to heal?
The healing time for TMJ disorder varies from person to person. While many people find that their TMJ disorder symptoms come and go, or gradually subside over time, some unfortunately do not.
If you are experiencing any ongoing jaw pain or discomfort, the best thing to do is have it checked by your local dentist. Simply give us a call on 08 9440 4455 or request an appointment with one of our friendly dental professionals today.
What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
The symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary widely but the most common signs and symptoms to look out for include:
Pain in the jaw and joints – This is the most common complaint from those living with TMJ disorders and is characterised by a clicking, grinding or popping sound whenever you eat, laugh or yawn. You may experience a dull or sharp pain throughout your face and neck that is constant or sporadic. This pain and tenderness can also extend throughout your shoulder
Headaches – When the jaw joint is misaligned or inflamed, this places pressure on the muscles and nerves in our face, resulting in headaches and migraines.
Tooth ache – TMJ disorders are common among people who clench or grind their teeth (also known as Bruxism). Over time the extreme pressure on the teeth and jaw joints can erode, crack or fracture the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity.
Ear pain or ringing – Pain from the jaw can also radiate from the affected joints, nerves and muscles. This can cause a sharp shooting pain or a dull ache and ringing in the ear (also known as tinnitus).
Lock jaw – This occurs when your jaw gets stuck in the open or closed mouth position.
Facial swelling – This might occur on one or both sides of your face as result of the jaw tenderness.
What causes TMJ disorder?
There is not one specific cause that can be attributed to TMJ disorder however there are believed to be a range of contributing factors. These include:
- Wear and tear on the cartilage, dislocation of the jaw joints from clenching and grinding
- The misalignment of your teeth and jaw which can place added stress on the muscles and nerves which surround the jaw joint
- Certain inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis can sometimes go hand-in-hand with TMJ, causing further inflammation of the adjoining tissues, tendons and muscles
- As TMJ disorders are more common among women, there has been research to suggest a link between the condition and female hormones
- Injury to the mouth or face and;
- In some cases, it can also be passed down through genetics.
Are there any exercises I can do to relieve my TMJ disorder?
While you should always seek professional advice and treatment from your doctor or dentist regarding your TMJ disorder, there are some simple things you can do at home which may help to relieve some of your TMJ symptoms as well as strengthen, stretch and relax your jaw:
- Start with your mouth closed and relax your jaw. With your teeth slightly apart, slowly open your mouth as wide as it can go and look up with your eyes open. Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly close.
- With your mouth closed, move your jaw to left while looking to your right without turning your head or neck. Hold this position for a few seconds before moving your jaw back to the centre. Repeat the same process on the other side.
- Put one of your thumbs under your chin and gently push downwards. As you push, slowly open your mouth and keep it in that position for a few seconds before slowly closing.
- If you are feeling particularly tense, try taking a deep breath for five to 10 seconds and then slowly exhaling. While not specifically designed for TMJ disorder, this exercise can help you feel less stressed and ease any TMJ discomfort you might be experiencing as a result.
How much does TMJ treatment cost?
For most people, TMJ pain only occurs on occasion and eventually goes away. However, if left untreated, it may develop into a more serious and complex issue.
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If you’re ready to experience The Dental Studio Stirling difference, please give us a call on 08 9440 4455 or request an appointment to meet with one of our friendly dental professionals today.