What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

Temporomandibular disorder relates to pain and dysfunction as a result of a problem with the jaw, jaw joint and/ or surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and jaw movement. TMD results in a large range of symptoms that vary for each individual and can include:

  • Significant face and neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Damaged teeth and tooth pain
  • Stiff/sore jaw muscles
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Ear pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Painful clicking
  • Popping, clicking or grating of the jaw

In many cases, the exact cause of TMD is not clear, but Dentists often believe that symptoms often arise from problems with muscles of the jaw or parts of the jaw itself. Other contributing factors can include:

  • Injury to the jaw, TMJ, nerves or muscles of the head and neck e.g heavy blow, whiplash
  • Day and night grinding or clenching the teeth resulting in a lot of pressure on the joint (Bruxism)
  • Presence of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Emotional/ psychological stress
  • Sleep disorders and breathing difficulties
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the jaw

How can TMD be treated?

There are several options to consider when discussing with your dentist. Your dentist will assess all aspects of your condition and help you determine the most appropriate choice for your individual condition. Available treatment options address different aspects of the condition depending on the case and they vary in cost, complexity and the expected results, including how long results last and potential complications. While no single treatment has proved universally effective for all patients, our aim is to treat patients holistically. Current treatment options include:

  • Relaxation/ Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Oral appliances called splints or bite guards
  • Massage/ Manipulation/ Exercise of the TMJ and associated muscles
  • Muscle relaxant injections (also known as Botox, Dysport) into the muscles of mastication
  • Orthodontics (braces) and dental work/ adjustment
  • TMJ surgery

Dentists strongly recommend using the most conservative, revisable treatments possible so to not further contribute to the problem.

Any questions about TMD or TMJ? Please contact the friendly team at Tooth Dental by calling 07 3366 1737 or click here to enquire online – we’d love to help!