Temporomandibular Joint Pain
The jaw joint or Temporomandibular Joint allows the jaw to open, close and move forwards and sideways. It is important for jaw function and speaking and is one of the most complex and frequently used joints in the body.
It is possible that a lack of harmony in the way the teeth bite together can lead to a number of symptoms ranging from fractured and sensitive teeth to headaches and jaw joint pain. TMJ disorders are common, with about 7 out of 10 people being affected throughout their lives.
We will examine your TMJ during your examination appointment and discuss any obvious conditions, which may lead to pain – these include:
- Missing teeth
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Emotional or physical stress with tension in the jaw muscles
- Injuries such as fractures or dislocations of the TMJ
- Conditions such as osteoarthritis
- Wrongly shaped dental fillings, crown or bridges.
Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth that is not a part of normal chewing movements. It can lead to excessive wear on the teeth and may cause permanent damage to the teeth and the jaw joints. Most people clench/grind their teeth at night; some people will also clench/ grind through the day – most people are not aware they do this. Some people will have no symptoms while others will have acute pain. Symptoms include:
- tooth grinding
- tooth sensitivity
- recurrent tooth fracture
- headache and migraine
- To diagnose the condition accurately our dentists may need to take plaster moulds of your teeth and special radiographs alongside their clinical examination.
Treatment therapies aim to change behaviour by teaching you how to rest the mouth. These include:
- Occlusal splints
- Biofeedback treatments
- Muscle relaxants
- Repair of damaged teeth and replacement of missing teeth