Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint which connects the jaw to the skull below the ears.
The TMJ is the most complex joint in the body however it is relatively easy to injure and damage. This is done by either clenching and grinding your teeth, or through trauma to the jaw.
TMD symptoms include head and neck pain, migraines, sleep disorders, discomfort in the ears and ground teeth which may contribute to a number or dental and oral health problems.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnoea can be attributed to TMD. Access Dental Care offers non-surgical dental solutions for sleep apnoea and snoring. Contact us today for our dental solutions for better sleep.
How is TMD is diagnosed?
The variation of symptoms of TMJ disorders can make it difficult for you to suspect the cause of your pain and discomfort. However, a simple and non-invasive assessment by your dentist or other medical professional can confirm a diagnosis.
By observing the movement of your jaw when you open and close your mouth, your dentist can detect injury and dysfunction through movements. Other tests including observation of your head and neck can also lead to a positive diagnosis.
What TMD does to your teeth
Many people suffering from TMD tend to clench their jaw and grind their teeth in their sleep. This could be related to stress or a pre-existing jaw disorder that presents in a malocclusion. This often presents in an overbite or other dental deformity where the teeth are misaligned.
When you grind your teeth you wear down the tooth enamel which in turn, increasing sensitivity and your risk of tooth decay and tooth loss due to fracturing and loosening.
What to do about worn down teeth
The first port of call after a TMD diagnosis is to find a solution to the TMD. However it is important to correct damage caused by the disorder too.
Tooth sensitivity caused by tooth grinding means the enamel of your teeth has been worn down exposing the inner part of the tooth (the dentin). The tooth is then sensitive to extreme temperature, certain foods and increases your risk of permanent tooth discolouration and tooth decay.
Dental crowns may be recommended to protect the tooth from further damage as well as cover cosmetic damage done to the teeth.
Dental bridges, implants and dentures could also be recommended where a tooth has been lost or damaged beyond repair.
A dentist’s solution to TMD
There are various solutions to temporomandibular joint disorder. These can include surgery, however more commonly dentists recommend oral appliances that prevent tooth grinding and relieve the pressure of jaw clenching. Ultimately this can prevent damage to the jaw joint and jaw muscle. This solution also leads to pain relief.
Oral night guard
Majority of tooth grinding and jaw clenching happens unconsciously in your sleep. An oral splint or mouth guard can help prevent damage to both the teeth and jaw by creating a physical barrier between your teeth. This can prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
Jaw exercises and relaxation techniques
Jaw clenching and tooth grinding are often linked to stress and may occur during waking hours too. In this case facial, jaw a tooth pain may indicate that you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. Relaxation techniques and jaw exercises can help to relieve pain and tension and also make you aware of your jaw movement.
TMJ treatment in Perth
Access Dental Care is a comprehensive dental practice offering corrective, restorative, preventative and sleep dentistry for the whole family. Visit us with any dental concerns and we will provide detailed diagnosis, effective treatment and advice on maintaining your dental and oral health.
Book your appointment today.