The temporomandibular joint more commonly referred to as the TMJ is the small, delicate joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This joint is a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones that acts like a sliding hinge allowing the jaw to open, close, move to the side and forward. The jaw is one of the most complex and frequently used joints in the body. The jaw is used when we speak, breath, eat, drink, make facial expressions and even breathe.
TMD is the abbreviation for temporomandibular disorder. TMD refers to the various conditions and issues that can affect the functionality of the TMJ.
As the joint is such a complex system there are many symptoms that can arise from it not functioning correctly.
- pain or tenderness of the jaw
- Face, neck, back and shoulder pain
- Limited jaw movement
- headache and/or migraines
- Facial pain
- Ear pain, ringing in the ear or loss of hearing
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- A stuck or locked jaw
- Clicking sound, popping or grating sensation in the joint when opening or closing the mouth
- Muscle spasms
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Uncomfortable bite (not feeling right when upper and lower teeth are in contact)
TMJ/TMD can be caused in a variety of ways, including;
- missing teeth
- grinding or clenching of teeth (sometimes related to stress)
- Emotional or physical stress, and tension in the jaw muscles
- Injuries to the jaw area
- Degenerative diseases such as various forms of arthritis
- Wrongly shaped dental fillings, crowns or bridges
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your dentist is the best place to start with getting a diagnosis. They will perform a clinical examination and review your medical and dental history. From this and/or further diagnostic assessments the dentist will work towards a treatment. Depending on the diagnosis treatments might be
Want to discuss your situation? You can give us a call on 3343 2100 with any questions that you may have. If you know you would like to book an appointment then you can book your appointment online or call us to find a convenient time.