TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)

Our bodies contain several hinges and joints that allow us to move in all manner of ways. One of the most complex and important of all of them, is the temporomandibular joint. It connects the upper and lower jaw, allowing us to move our mouth by utilising a range of muscles, ligaments and discs.

However, when we cannot move our jaw properly, it is painful, or pops and clicks, TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder) may be to blame.

What is TMJD?

When the TMJ becomes injured or damaged in some way – possibly due to an unexpected blow or teeth grinding during sleep - it can lead to TMJD. Other causes of this condition include natural misalignment of the jaw or teeth, joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis and inflammation as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.

There are several signs and symptoms of TMJD, with most of them affecting the jaw area. These symptoms include pain in the joint itself, a clicking when the jaw is moved, sore jaw muscles and a complete locking of the hinge can all be indicative of TMJD.

Popping in the ears and pain in the temple are also telltale signs that TMJD may be present.

What can happen if TMJD is left untreated?

It is recommended that you visit your dentist as soon as you suspect that you may have TMJD, otherwise the condition will be left to develop, which can result in a range of negative consequences for your oral health.

Tooth loss is the most serious concern and misaligned teeth can also result from the jaw meeting unevenly. This can put extra strain on the jaw muscles as extra chewing is required when eating. Missing or misaligned teeth can also lead to further oral health problems.

TMJD can markedly restrict jaw movement and can even cause tinnitus - a constant ringing in the ears. Furthermore, dizziness can also occur, largely because the jaw joint is in close proximity to the ears.

How is TMJD treated?

Typically, treatment for TMJD varies from case to case. When you visit your dentist, they will determine the problem and decide upon the most suitable treatment. As there is no single cure for the condition, it is worthwhile enquiring about the possibility of pain relievers to ease any discomfort you may have. Various muscle relaxants and sedatives can also be used while you wait for treatment.

If you believe that you are suffering from TMJD, be sure to book an appointment at HR Hocking Dental Surgery, so that we can address the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.