What is TMJ?
TemporaoMandibular Joint Disorder, commonly referred to as ‘TMJ’ is the disfunction of the two joints located just in front of the ear on either side of the head affecting the surrounding tissue, muscle and ligaments often with accompanying pain. These joints act as hinge connecting the temporal bone (skull) to the mandible (jaw) below and when properly functioning are crucial in the movements needed to speak, eat, yawn and use facial expression. It is often difficult to determine the exact cause of TMJ as the contributing factors are many and varied including stress, localised trauma, bruxism (the act of teeth grinding or clenching), dental issues leading to an improper bite and occasionally arthritis.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
There are a range of symptoms attributed to TMJ, more common symptoms include:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please book an appointment to discuss further on
Treatment for TMJ disorder.
There are several effective treatments to combat TMJ pain and disfunction. Anti inflammatory and pain management medications prescribed by a dentist can offer temporary relief from the discomfort and motion restrictions associated with TMJ.
The use of prescribed occlusal appliances such as mouth guards or oral splints have been noted to alleviate TMJ related pain by supporting the jaw in the correct position while sleeping and limiting the clenching/ grinding of teeth. Other non drug therapies include physiotherapy-exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles and the application of hot or cold compresses to reduce swelling and pain.
It is vital to consult a dentist when addressing TMJ pain as the treatment required will be contingent on the severity of the case and it’s underlying cause. In some cases, your dentist may recommend resolving an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping the problem teeth. In extreme cases orthodontic treatment may also be recommended.
How headaches are related to dental stress.
Your oral health, headaches and even migraines can be directly correlated, as the Trigeminal nerve is responsible for connecting and transferring pain from your teeth, gums and other facial structures to your brain and vice versa. Thus dental stress can be a major contributing factor to headaches as is seen in;
Toothaches- the pain and inflammation that occurs with toothaches as the result of cracked/broken teeth, cavities and abscesses. can irritate the trigeminal nerve and trigger a persistent migraine headache if left untreated.Bruxism- known as teeth grinding and clenching, overworks the muscles surrounding the temporaomandibular joints often to the point of throbbing headache pain and in some instances migraines.
TMJ as a result of an uneven bite – in the case of missing or uneven teeth your jaw must work harder to bring and hold your top and bottom teeth together resulting in radiating headaches.