People from all over the world suffer from chronic pain and discomfort due to a disorder associated with the temporomandibular joint. Located between the upper and lower jaw, the joint can ultimately be the cause of headaches, jaw clicking or popping, problems opening and closing the mouth and many other symptoms.
At The Paddington Dental Surgery, cosmetic dentist Dr. Duncan Copp and his team pride themselves on offering the highest standard of care possible. Our team of dentists are committed to providing patients with the latest techniques and procedures to successfully reduce the symptoms of TMJ Disorder and diminish the effects it has on your day-to-day life.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
The tempormandibular joint helps the mobility of the jaw while you speak, yawn, bite, and chew. Disorders affecting the joint can ultimately be caused by:
- Imbalance among the jaws
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- A breakdown of cartilage in the joint
- Misaligned bite
- Simple overuse
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ Disorder can be responsible for a number of symptoms. Since many of the symptoms often seem unrelated to the jaw joint, people may not be aware they have TMJ Disorder. Symptoms of the condition include:
- Facial pain
- Clicking or popping sensation in the jaw
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Difficulty biting, chewing, and/or swallowing
- Ringing in the ears
- Numbness in the arms and/or fingers
Treatment for TMJ disorder will depend on each patient’s individual needs. A number of therapies have been shown to alleviate symptoms and/or prevent further damage to the temporomandibular joint. Treatment options include:
- Nightguards and customised oral appliances
- Bite-realignment appliances
- Jaw and bite therapies
- Neuromuscular dentistry
- Restorative dental care
- Oral surgery
One of our experienced dentists can meet with you for an evaluation of your symptoms. If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, we can create a customised treatment plan designed to give you the most effective results possible.
More Information About TMJ Disorder
We want to help you make the best decision for your individual health needs and desired outcome. With that goal in mind, we have provided some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about TMJ disorder and treatments. If you would like additional information, we encourage you to reach out to our friendly and experienced team.
What is TMJ disorder?
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the hinge found on either side of the jaw that allows you to open and close your mouth. Although small, this joint is very important to performing many actions, including eating, drinking, and speaking. When this joint suffers from problems that affect its function, it is typically known as TMJ disorder. Examples of issues that cause dysfunction include arthritis, misaligned bite (teeth don’t line up properly), and overuse.
How do I know if I have this condition?
Many symptoms are associated with this condition, some which may not be obvious. Many patients notice a clicking or popping sound in the area when they open and close the mouth. Difficulties eating, chewing, or speaking could also indicate TMJ disorder. Additionally, headaches, difficulty sleeping, earaches, and even dizziness could be due to this issue.
What are the risks associated with TMJ disorder?
If TMJ disorder continues without treatment, several issues could arise. Some of the problems that could develop include arthritis of the jaw, injury, long-term teeth clenching or grinding (leading to wear and tear of the teeth and the need for restorative treatment), and disk erosion (there is a disk that sits within the jaw joint to cushion movement). Comfortable jaw movement is essential to your wellbeing, so if you notice any functional concerns or other symptoms, please let us know.
How do you diagnose this condition?
Reviewing the range of motion of your jaw is one of the many ways we can detect a functional issue with the TMJ. We can also evaluate how the teeth come together, listen for any unusual noises coming from this area, and check for any tenderness. If necessary, X-rays or even a CT scan may be recommended to provide a more detailed image of the anatomical structures.
Can TMJ disorder be cured?
Whether or not TMJ disorder can be cured will depend on the cause of the condition. In many cases, effective treatment can provide long-lasting relief, even in the event the underlying cause is not eliminated. For instance, arthritis has no cure, but the latest TMJ disorder techniques can help alleviate discomfort nonetheless. We will consider all factors when developing a course of action, particularly with regard to minimising the causes of this concern.
Is there anything I can do to reduce symptoms?
Some things you can do on your own to reduce TMJ disorder effects include reducing tension-related habits. You can eat softer foods or cut your food into smaller pieces. We recommend you avoid very sticky or chewy foods and abstain from chewing gum. Jaw stretches and facial massage can also help to reduce muscle tension in this area and relieve soreness. Applying heat or ice can also be used to minimise aches and pain.
For more information on TMJ disorder or if you’d like to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.