TMJ Disorder or TMD is caused by the improper function of the temporomandibular joint.
The jaw joint is a ball and socket joint, with a ligament disc between the two parts of the joint. When the joint is not working properly, the disc may be swollen in some areas, and thinned out in others. This leads to non-smooth movement of the joint. Often this is heard as clicking. Long-term swelling can lead to improper, limited or painful movement of the jaw.
Assessment usually involves a full mouth X-ray to visualise the joint, measuring and recording the movement of the jaw, and other tests.
Grinding and jaw pain is often caused by many factors, and needs to be addressed as a team approach, usually involving our local physiotherapist.
TMJ Disorder can be identified by a range of symptoms, including:
+ Tooth sensitivity, and damaged and worn teeth
+ Headaches and Migraines
+ Aching or stiffness in the jaw
+ Clicking or popping of your jaw
TMJ Disorder Treatment
Once we have assessed your teeth and associated structures, we can treat you with a bite splint, and sometimes this is in conjunction with muscle relaxing injectables.
Muscle-relaxing injectables have traditionally been used for many medical applications over the years, and are a highly effective and safe way to treat TMJ disorder. By blocking some of the muscle contraction that causes the grinding, the joint and associated muscles are held in a more relaxed position, allowing the swelling within the joint to subside. This will also lead to less tooth wear, slimming of the face through muscle activity decrease, and a reduction in pain.
Muscle relaxants usually last approximately 4 months and offer significant improvement when it comes to the comfort of your jaw. Most people find that this length of time makes a big difference to the way they feel every day and their quality of life.
A bite splint is a hard, thin plate that fits over the upper teeth. It provides a smooth surface that is comfortable to bite on, so that the jaw joint is not under pressure from the tooth position. The joint and disc within it can settle down, relieving swelling, and allowing for normal movement to return. It is usually worn every night to protect the joints and muscles from night-time grinding.
‘Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.’
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