TMJ Dysfunction Treatment
Our bodies use several different kinds of hinges and joints that move relative to each other in different ways, and to different extents. One of the most complex and important of all of them is the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the upper and lower jaw. It allows us to move our mouth by utilising a range of muscles, ligaments and discs. The temporomandibular joint is crucial for speech and chewing. However, when we cannot move our jaw properly, if it's painful, or pops, locks and clicks, TMJD may be the cause.
What is TMJD?
When the temporomandibular joint becomes injured or damaged in some way (possibly by a sporting injury, or teeth grinding at night), this can lead to TMJD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Other causes of this condition include natural misalignment of the jaw or teeth, joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis, or inflammation as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.
There are several signs and symptoms of TMJD, with most of them affecting the jaw area. Pain in the joint itself, a clicking when the jaw is moved, sore jaw muscles and a complete locking of the hinge can all be indicative of TMJD. Popping in the ears and pain in the temple are also tell-tale signs that TMJD may be present.
What can happen if TMJD is left untreated?
If you’re experiencing TMJD and the condition is left untreated, it can potentially cause a range of negative consequences for your oral health. Tooth loss is the most serious, and misaligned teeth can also occur as a result of the jaw meeting unevenly. This can put extra strain on the jaw muscles since extra chewing is required when eating - and missing or misaligned teeth can lead to further oral health problems.
Additionally, TMJD can markedly restrict jaw movement, cause headaches and can even tinnitus - a constant ringing in the ears. What's more, dizziness can also occur, largely because the jaw joint is in close proximity to the ears.
How is TMJD treated?
TMJD treatment varies depending on each individual’s case and its underlying cause. When you visit your dentist, they will determine the problem and decide upon the most suitable treatment for you.
TMJD treatments focus on reducing overuse of your jaw joint muscles and may range from anti-inflammatory medication to:
- muscle relaxants
- night splints
- jaw joint exercises
- replacing missing teeth to balance the bite.
Your dentist at Ocean Reef Dental Surgery will create a treatment plan for you.
If you believe that you may be experiencing TMJD, book an appointment with Ocean Reef Dental Surgery to speak to a professional about possible solutions and options.