TMD Disorder Melbourne
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), can be treated by your Bayside Smiles dentist
Your temporomandibular joint is a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull—these are located in from your ears. This joint allows you to move your jaw so you can eat and talk as well as yawn. Medical problems with your jaw and the facial muscles which control your jaw are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) – sometimes confused as TMJ.
Dentists do not know as yet what causes TMD. But symptoms tend to arise after injury to your jaw, joint or the muscles of your head and neck; injuries consistent with a heavy blow or whiplash. Other causes include:
- Stress—this can cause a tightening of the facial and jaw muscles
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Grinding or clenching your teeth—this puts a lot of pressure on the jaw joint
Symptoms of TMD
As a rule, TMD causes discomfort and severe pain. Some patients will only experience it on one side of their face while others will experience it on both. Typically more women than men have it and the average age of TMD sufferers is between 20 and 40. Some symptoms of TMD include:
- Tenderness or pain in the face, jaw joint area, shoulders, neck and in or around the ear when you: eat, speak or open your mouth wide.
- Jaws which get locked or stuck
- Clicking, grating or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth to chew. This can be painful but not always.
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Trouble chewing
Treating and diagnosing TMD
TMD can be difficult to diagnose because other conditions such as tooth decay, sinus problems, and arthritis as well as gum disease have similar conditions. When you visit Bayside Smiles we will assess your oral health, take x-rays, check your bite and listen for clicks, pops or grating sounds.
Due to the nature of TMD there are a few ways this can be treated. For some patients treatment can be as simple as a splint or night guard. These fit over your teeth and can lessen the effects of clenching or grinding your teeth. They also can correct your bite by placing your teeth in a correct position. The difference between a night guard and a splint is that while you only wear a night guard while you sleep you wear a splint all the time.
Another treatment method is dental work. This can involve bite correction through orthodontics or replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges. This form of treatment works by balancing bite surfaces or replacing teeth to correct your bite.