Your TMJ — or temporomandibular joint — is the hinge joint on either side of your jaw, just in front of each ear. You rely on it thousands of times per day, with it moving every time you talk, eat, smile or yawn.
So when your TMJ flares up or has some type of physical disorder, it can significantly impact your day-to-day activities.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder (TMD)
Although most of us will experience TMJ pain from time to time, a disorder of the joints is less common. Typically it’s brought on by chronic stress, bruxism (grinding), physical trauma or even tooth misalignment.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you could have – or be at risk for – TMJ disorder:
Professional TMJ Evaluations
The first step in treating TMD is to have your joint evaluated by a professional. During your dental checkup at our Kellyville dental office, we’ll assess the joint’s function. We may also order a full-mouth scan or X-ray to look inside of the joint to identify any type of physical abnormalities (such as damage to the disk or bone resorption).
Depending on the extent of the condition and whether clinical TMJ disorder is present, we may prescribe a protective splint or occlusal guard.
Occasional joint flare-ups can happen during times of stress or mild injuries. When that’s the case, at-home TMJ relief typically comes in the form of using a warm or cool compress to ease any swelling. An anti-inflammatory pain reliever will also be helpful when taken as directed. However, if symptoms persist, it’s important to speak to us.
We recommend wearing your occlusal splint every night or during the day if you’re experiencing a higher level of stress than normal. If the appliance begins to wear out because of excess teeth grinding it should be replaced.
Unfortunately, most stock mouthguards are bulky and loose-fitting. It’s quite difficult to wear them for an extended period of time, such as overnight.
Some providers do use cosmetic injectables as an off-label treatment for TMJ disorder. Since their ingredients tend to act like natural muscle relaxers, some people have found them to be a useful component of their treatment plan.
If your teeth are misaligned (malocclusion), it may require atypical joint movement of your TMJ to chew your food. Irregular motions day after day can cause both pain and TMD. Orthodontic therapy may be required if you have a moderate to severe malocclusion.
Some children grind their teeth because of medications, anxiety or sleeping disorders. If there are behavioural concerns or bedwetting, it’s best to speak to your physician or paediatrician about the next steps to take.
Request Your Appointment Today
Are you struggling with frequent headaches or TMJ pain? Contact Kellyville Smiles today for an appointment.
* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.