Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a general name for a variety of symptoms and conditions that affect the jaw joints and muscles. It can have a whole variety of causes and symptoms. It's also known as TMJ, which is the abbreviation for Temporomandibular Joint (Syndrome) and is a very common problem in the field of dentistry.
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) attach your lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bones in your skull. The TMJ’s serve as a hinge for the jaw and move together every time you use your mouth to eat or speak. Any disruption or damage to these joints could lead to a medical and dental problem known as TMJ Dysfunction or TMD. This is a chronic illness that affects 75 million people.
Do you have TMJ/TMD symptoms? Herewith just a few of the most common symptoms experienced with TMJ dysfunction:
- Frequent headaches
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Pain or soreness around the jaw joints
- Tenderness in the jaw muscles
- Popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw
- Jaw locking episodes or an inability to open or close mouth freely
- Earache, congestion or stiffness of the external ear canals
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Stiffness/painful neck together with some of the above symptoms
- Pain behind the eyes, pain in the forehead & temple
- Worn, chipping or cracked teeth
- Difficulty in chewing
TMJ Dysfunction can have a variety of causes and is believed to result when the chewing muscles and jaw joints do not work together correctly. The most common causes of TMD are stress, improper bite and overuse of the joint causing wear and injury like during habitual grinding and clenching.
Treatment may involve one of or a combination of the following:
- Bite plate therapy/occlusal splints
- Psychosocial & behavioural interventions
- Physiotherapy & biofeedback
- Postural analysis and correction
- Occlusal adjustment
- Orthodontic bite re-organization
- Prosthodontic bite rehabilitation
During the acute phase of TMD, we generally recommend:
- Apply warm, moist heat to both joints for 30 minutes.
- Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce the inflammation.
- If grinding teeth at night is the problem, we will manufacture you a therapeutic bite plate (splint) to wear when you sleep.
- Chew soft food evenly on both sides of the mouth
- Avoid chewing gum
- Eat soft foods- avoid hard, crunchy or sticky foods
- Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth during the day
- Practice good body posture at home and at your workplace – hold your head, neck and shoulders in good horizontal alignment with your axial skeleton.
For more information visit the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporomandibular_joint_dysfunction
Please give us a call and schedule a consultation to enable us to make an assessment of your TMJ’s and muscles and treat your TMD.