TMJ & TMD treatment

At Pain Free Dentistry we treat patients with Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction also known as TMD. This is a medical problem that affects the jaw joint that connects the lower jaw to the skill under your ear. It can cause problems including headaches, facial swelling and more. This disorder is treatable once diagnosed and at Pain Free Dentistry we offer the greatest care.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

The TMJ is a hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull (temporal bone) under your ear. This joint is important as it allows movement of your jaw. You need this joint to talk, yawn and chew because of this, Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is described as affecting the chewing muscles.

What causes the disorder?

There are number of things that can cause TMJ pain. One of the biggest contributors to the problem is sleep as many of the causes occur when you are sleeping. That is why during the treatment process we will evaluate your sleep. Here are the common causes of the disorder:

  • Bruxism – This is a condition which causes grinding the teeth. This puts stress and pressure on the joint which change the alignment of the teeth. Teeth grinding can also cause inflammation and muscle spasms which cause pain. Most of the time people grind their teeth during sleep.
  • Clenching of the Jaw – People generally bite on things such as chewing gum, pens and pencils. This causes pain and tension in the jaw and can lead to clenched jaw.
  • Osteoarthritis – The jaw is like other joints in the body, it can suffer from arthritic symptoms. This is caused by aging and the breakdown of the joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – This causes inflammation and it can cause deforming joints and destruction of cartilage.

What are the symptoms?

Knowing the symptoms is important. This way you can spot the signs early and seek medical attention. The symptoms and signs of the joint disorder you need to know are:

  • Unable to open the mouth comfortably
  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint
  • Locking of the jaw when attempting to open the mouth
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Pain when chewing
  • Teeth Grinding and Clenching
  • Throat Pain
  • Difficult Swallowing
  • A bite that feels uncomfortable or “off

Symptoms of TMD do not only affect your face and jaw. You can have symptoms in other areas to. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Ringing in the ears or ear pain
  • Decreased hearing
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Neck pain
  • Scalp Tenderness

When is it an emergency?

Although the condition isn’t usually serious, the symptoms can be become severe. The two symptoms you should not ignore are closed lock (can’t open your mouth) and open lock (can’t close your mouth). These symptoms cannot wait as it will be harder to fix the jaw back into place. If you have these symptoms call us right away.

What is the diagnosis and treatment process for TMJ?

When you come to us for diagnosis, we will give you an in-depth examination. This includes:

  • A postural examination
  • A cranial examination
  • Dental exam
  • Neurological Exam

We will also look at joint sounds, opening motions, motion of the jaw, inflammation and we will also examine your sleep. A sleep study will help us to see if a sleep disorder is part of the cause.

There are a range of therapies to treat the disorder. You will be given a treatment plan to help combat the pain and to correct your bite. We have splints that are designed to heal the jaw joint through the day and the night. Usually treatment lasts around three months but can be more as every patient is different.

We want our patients to have the best quality of life. So, if you’re experiencing any symptoms, pain or you’re worried about your dental health contact us today. You do not have to suffer with this condition. We want to help you.