The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints located at the back of your lower jaw (in front of each ear), connecting it to your upper jaw and skull. These are some of the most frequently used joints in your body. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (also known as TMJ Disorder or TMD) is a common condition that occurs when these joints are prevented from functioning normally.
Do you feel pain or soreness along your jaw when you eat, talk or yawn? Perhaps you have limited movement in your jaws, or it feels like it’s locking up at times? If so, you could be suffering from TMJ Dysfunction. At Wyndham Dental, we’re here to help you both understand and manage this, so you can get back to eating and speaking normally again.
While there are other dental conditions or health problems that may display similar symptoms, here are some of the most common signs of TMJ Disorder.
The best way to find out if TMD is behind your symptoms is to schedule an appointment with our skilled dentists in Werribee.
TMJ disorder could be caused by either dental or medical issues! Some of the most common factors are:
Since the cause of TMJ might not be immediately obvious, our dentist will carry out a thorough evaluation at your appointment to identify and address the source of the issue.
TMJ Disorder and Bruxism are quite often linked together, so it’s not uncommon for individuals with TMJ disorder to also suffer from Bruxism. Bruxism is a chronic state of teeth grinding that occurs regardless of whether you’re conscious or unconscious.
This constant grinding can occur due to stress, deep concentration, an abnormal bite or a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. If you suffer from Bruxism, you’re likely to wake up with a sore jaw or headaches & facial aches. The constant pressure can even lead to premature erosion of your teeth and affect your jaw joints, ultimately leading to inflammation and pain when moving the jaw.
Our team of professional dentists at Wyndham Dental will be able to efficiently diagnose your TMJ disorder. We do this by evaluating the position of the TMJ, creating mould impressions of your bite and mounting it on an articulator. This helps us identify any structural disorder or other factors (such as a misaligned bite) that may be affecting the joints. In some cases, we may also opt for dental imaging to examine your jaws in greater detail.
What are the best TMJ treatment options?
Once we have diagnosed your condition, our experienced dental and support staff will provide you with a personalised treatment plan to help alleviate the worst of your symptoms. Here are some of the best treatment & pain management options that we may recommend for you:
If your TMJ Disorder has been caused by Bruxism, we may recommend a mouthguard or dental splint to be worn at night. This will help prevent you from wearing down your teeth and placing unnecessary pressure on your jaw joints while asleep. However, this approach will only help manage your symptoms, as it won’t address the cause of your bruxism. For example, if you clench your teeth due to stress, you’ll need to look at stress coping mechanisms and strategies as a long-term treatment plan.
Do you have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite that is affecting your jaw joints? Orthodontics may be the best solution for you. We have several different orthodontic treatments at Wyndham Dental to straighten your smile. We’ll be able to recommend which solution would best suit your case once you come in for your consultation.
Laser dentistry uses a focused beam of light energy to manipulate tissues and reduce inflammation or pain. It is an advanced branch of dentistry that is known to have several benefits when used to carry out dental solutions, including increased healing, rejuvenating ageing tissues, reduced sleep apnoea problems etc.
We may recommend joint surgery as a last resort for more extreme cases of TMJ Disorder where the patient has suffered from severe or long-lasting pain. Most patients recover without the need for this option, however.
While you cannot completely cure your TMJ disorder naturally, there are a few simple things you can do from the comfort of your own home to help ease the pain. We recommend sticking to a soft food diet to minimise chewing. You can also apply a cold/hot compress to your jaw and gently massage your muscles regularly. While these steps won’t cure TMJ, they will help manage the pain and provide some relief.
We understand that TMJ Disorder can be quite painful if left untreated. It can affect your daily activities and sleep and make simple things like biting, chewing and speaking difficult.
You don’t have to suffer from this pain. We are here to help alleviate your pain by treating the cause of TMJ disorder. So don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment with Wyndham Dental as soon as possible. Our team of skilled dentists will work with you to determine the best way to help you!