Causes of TMD
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or the jaw joint, is the hinge between your lower jaw, your skull and associated jaw muscles. When the jaw joint (TMJ) and jaw muscles aren’t functioning properly, there can be several adverse effects on your lifestyle, and we recommend coming to see The Dental Family Beaumaris for an examination.
The cause of jaw pain associated with TMD can be hard to determine and may come from a range of factors, or a combination of different reasons. Some of these reasons may include:
- Arthritis: Degenerative arthritis in the jaw bone can lead to misalignment of the jaws and teeth, affecting the smooth movement of the TMJ joint.
- Teeth clenching or grinding: As well as affecting your teeth negatively, this can have a serious impact on your jaw muscles and TMJ.
- Trauma to the jaw: A sharp knock or blow to the face can lead to your TMJ being knocked out of alignment.
- Overuse: Overuse of the jaw joint and muscles from teeth clenching and grinding can also lead to jaw pain.
- Genetic Predisposition: Genetics can affect our skeletal structure and how it withstands prolonged use, making some individuals more susceptible to TMD.
Symptoms of TMD
Several symptoms may arise as a result of TMD. They can range from minor annoyances to severe debilitating pain, such as:
- Headaches: TMD can cause tension headaches that can feel like your head is being squeezed.
- Facial pain: Pain in the cheeks and temple regions of the skull may be related to jaw muscle pain from teeth clenching or grinding.
- Clicking jaw: A clicking, popping, or grinding feeling in the jaw joint (TMJ) when opening and closing your mouth is a common sign of a TMJ problem.
- Locking Jaw: This occurs when the jaw joint (TMJ) becomes stuck, making it difficult to open or close your mouth.
- Teeth wear: Teeth clenching and grinding often lead to tooth wear and damage.
- Difficulty in opening and closing your mouth: This could be due to a problem with the jaw joint (TMJ) or jaw muscles, which can cause discomfort and difficulty with speaking or eating.
- Earache or tinnitus: A misaligned bite can lead to ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, or sustained pain in the ear. TMD can be a possible cause of these symptoms.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMD, don’t let them impact your daily life any longer. Come in and see us at The Dental Family Beaumaris for a thorough examination and treatment to relieve your jaw pain and discomfort.
Our TMD Management Options
If you are experiencing symptoms that suggest TMD, our team will perform a simple review of your jaw joint and muscles. We will assess your jaw motion to evaluate your jaw joint’s functionality, listen and feel for clicks or pops when you open and close your mouth, and analyse the location of any facial or jaw pain. We will also palpate your jaw muscles to check for tenderness.
Once we have made a diagnosis, we will tailor your treatment plan to your individual needs and the underlying causes of your TMD. At The Dental Family Beaumaris, we prioritise non-invasive treatments that do not impact your natural dental structure. Some of the TMD treatments we may suggest include:
- Pain relief medication for acute flare-ups
- Heat packs to relax aching jaw muscles
- Cold packs to reduce inflammation of the TMJ and jaw muscles
- Protective occlusal splints or night guards for those who grind their teeth, particularly at night.
- Lifestyle changes, such as eating softer foods or cutting food into smaller pieces, to avoid excessive jaw opening.
- Managing your clenching or grinding habit during the day to prevent TMD symptoms from worsening. This can include relaxation techniques, stress reduction strategies, and adjusting your posture and habits to reduce strain on the jaw muscles
Non-invasive techniques can successfully manage TMD in most cases. However, if your condition is chronic and these treatments don’t work, oral surgery may be necessary.
At The Dental Family Beaumaris, we strive to provide the best treatment options to get you on the road to a comfortable, pain-free life. Contact our Bayside dentists to discuss your symptoms and the available treatment options.