TMJ Pain and Disorders

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is collective term used for number conditions affecting jaw muscles and jaw joint. It often presents as pain, discomfort and dysfunction of jaw joint and jaw muscles.

The symptoms of TMJ Disorders may include:

  • pain in the jaw muscle and jaw joint
  • clicking noises
  • jaw locking
  • difficulty in opening the mouth
  • pain during chewing and talking
  • headache
  • earache

What causes TMD?
There is a complex interplay of multiple factors that leads to TMD. Some of which are as listed.

  • Trauma (falls, knock, accidents, whiplash)
  • Continuous deep pain – neck pain, back pain
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Emotional stress and anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Posture and unaccustomed use
  • Occlusion/bite
  • Degenerative diseases as osteoarthritis

 

A detailed examination is required to find the affected structures and identifying predisposing, initiating and perpetuating factors. It is important to related pain and dysfunction to muscle, joint or both. An accurate diagnosis is key to management.

TMD therapy encompasses:

  • Identifying cause and involved factors
  • Awareness of damaging habits
  • Self care therapies – soft diet, moist heat, massage & stretches
  • Pain management
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Physical therapy
  • Behaviour changes
  • protecting your teeth
  • Coordinated care with other health professional

The longer the pain and dysfunction remains, more challenging and time required to manage the conditions.  It is important seek care at the earliest.