TMJ (Jaw Joint)


The ‘temporomandibular joint’ (TMJ) is where the lower jaw connects to the base of the skull. The position of this joint is just in front of your ears and it can be felt by opening and closing your jaw while gently pressing this position.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) is improper function of this joint and the muscles controlling it. You may be a victim of TMD if you suffer one or more of the following:

  • sore jaws,

  • toothaches,

  • sinus problems,

  • neck and back pain,

  • ear aches / ringing ears,

  • headaches / migraines,

  • the teeth of both jaws do not feel like they are biting properly,

  • pain when chewing or yawning,

  • limited opening of the jaws,

  • pain on opening or closing of the jaw,

  • facial tension, clicking jaw (disc rubs on the bone),

  • locked jaw.

The causes of TMD may include one or more of the following

  1. Ear infections

  2. Injuries to the jaw joint

  3. Autoimmune disorders such as osteo or rheumatoid arthritis

  4. Dental fillings not properly adjusted

  5. Grinding and or clenching of the teeth

  6. Stress: emotional and/or physical

  7. Bad occlusion

  8. Anatomical deformities

Treatment of TMD can be complicated so we at Dental World Panmure, prepare a treatment plan so that all aspects of the problem, being physical and/or emotional are dealt with. This Treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

1. Treatment of all dental infections (Abscess, Caries, Gums Etc.
2. Occlusal Splint Therapy: An occlusal splint is a hard piece of plastic that is made from a mould of your teeth. It is worn mainly at night times though acute sufferers may have to wear it 24 hours a day until symptoms are relieved. The purpose of the splint is to keep your teeth apart. In this position the facial muscles are most relaxed and less tension can be generated than when the teeth are together. The jaw joint is also free to move instead of being locked in place with constant muscle tension when the teeth are together.
3. Soft Diet: Acute sufferers are recommended to eat with their splint in place until symptoms are relieved. Non acute sufferers are advised of the problems associated with chewing gum, hard diets (eg. nuts, bones) and it is recommended that hard foods are temporarily removed from the diet.
4. Heat Packs Applied To The Area Can Sometimes Give Relief To Symptoms.
5. Physiotherapy
6. Myotherapy
7. Stress Management
8. Botox
9. Surgery

This is normally the last option and is only recommended once all other possibilities have been used up.

A complete treatment plan is the only way to deal with TMD effectively.

#TMJ #jaws

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