TMJ Pain and TMD

What is TMJ pain and TMD?

The TemporoMendibular Joint (TMJ) is a joint that facilitates the opening and closing of the mouth and more complex movements like chewing. TMJ pain and TemporoMandibular Dysfunction (TMD) are terms relating to acute and chronic inflammation of the TMJ respectively. This inflammation can result in mild to significant pain localised to the TMJ. In many cases, this pain manifests itself in referred pain crossing multiple health care disciplines. These include dentistry, psychology, neurology, physical therapy and biochemistry.

What are the symptoms of TMJ pain and TMD?

The diversity of symptoms involved with TMJ pain and TMD have earned it the tittle of the ‘Great Imitator’. Many symptoms are anatomically separated from the TMJ but are actually caused by disturbances originating from the TMJ.

Localised symptoms:
  • ▪ Pain in the TMJ itself
  • ▪ Clicking of the jaw during opening and/or closing motions
  • ▪ Jaw pain
  • ▪ Tight, sore muscles around the jaw
  • ▪ Impaired Maximum Mouth Opening (MMO)
  • ▪ Tooth sensitivity
  • ▪ Bruxism (grinding teeth)
  • ▪ Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • ▪ Hearing problems
  • ▪ Deviations (left or right) in jaw opening
Referred Symptoms:
  • ▪ Headaches or migraines
  • ▪ Neck or back pain
  • ▪ Fatigue
  • ▪ Insomnia
  • ▪ Multiple Sclerosis like symptoms
  • ▪ Depression
  • ▪ Asthma
What causes TMJ pain and TMD pain?

TMJ pain and TMD can arise from a number of causes such as genetic abnormality, arthritis, ankylosis, dislocation or trauma. Acute pain of the TMJ results from known causes like trauma from a blow to the jaw. Causes of chronic inflammation are harder to diagnose as it may result from prolonged damaged after a traumatic event or unknown causes.

How is TMJ pain and TMD treated?

If the TMJ has incurred damage from either acute or chronic inflammation, then an assessment is required to determine the extent of damage and available options for treatment. This could include splint therapy or in severe cases, surgery. At Wholistic Dentistry we are well aware of the pain patients experience with TMJ problems, that is why we have developed a highly effective TMJ treatment option for patients in pain management. Our treatment has successfully avoided jaw surgery for numerous patients and given hundreds of patients stable relief from pain. Our method involves non-invasive splint, orthopaedic, myofunctional appliance therapy that decompresses the TMJ and stops positive feed-back of inflammation. By stopping the positive feed-back of inflammation in and around the TMJ, the tissue can repair itself and return to either a normal or a significantly improved state.