Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face.

TMJ means that the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. This hinge is one of the most complex joints in the body, responsible for moving the lower jaw forward, backward and side-to-side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working as it should is called TMJ. Often, TMJ feels like your jaw is popping or clicking or even “getting stuck” for a moment. The exact cause of this misalignment is often impossible to determine.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ disorders have many signs and symptoms. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMJ, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Dr Baret is able to make a proper diagnosis by taking a complete medical and dental history, conducting a clinical examination and taking appropriate X-rays.

Signs & Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of TMJ. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMJ, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis. Some of the most common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Pain in the face, jaw or ear area
  • Headaches (often mimicking migraines), earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Jaw that “gets stuck,” locked or goes out of place
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • Swelling of the face

How is TMJ Treated?

While there is no single cure for TMJ, there are different treatments you can follow that may reduce your symptoms dramatically. Your dentist may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Trying to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by applying moist heat or taking medication such as muscle-relaxants, aspirin or other over-the-counter pain-relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Reducing the harmful effects of clenching and grinding by wearing an appliance, sometimes called a bite plate or splint. Custom-made to fit your mouth, the appliance slips over the upper teeth and keeps them from grinding against the lower teeth
  • Learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Your dentist may suggest you seek training or counseling to help eliminate stress
  • When the jaw joints are affected and other treatments have been unsuccessful, jaw joint surgery may be recommended

If you’re concerned you may have TMJ, please call Integrated Dental Health on (02) 4708 7007.


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