TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorders are a group of issues that relate to your jaw joint, which is more complex then you may think. Symptoms such as clicking or pain in the jaw can be both identified and treated much easier now than in the past. These issues are caused by the joints in the jaw not interacting properly with the muscles that chew. These disorders affect both the right and left joints that join your jaw to your skull. TMJ problems can cause more serious conditions so both early treatment and diagnosis are critical.

Treating TMJ disorders is not as simple as treating other conditions, it can take time and require a variety of techniques. Both Dr Lloyd and Dr Lewis will help resolve your jaw issues.

Problems with your jaw?

There can be many reasons for developing a TMJ disorder. Grinding or clenching your teeth can be causes, these forces stress your TMJ and jaw muscles and can do some real damage. Other causes include injury or disease. Conditions like arthritis can degrade the joint either directly or by stretching and or tearing the muscle ligaments. This may cause the disk which is composed of cartilage and works to cushion the jaw joint to slip out of its place. Regardless of the cause the symptoms can include, clicking, pain, a misaligned bite or even a grating sound when you open your mouth. This can cause difficulty when trying to open your mouth wide.

Do You Suffer From a TMJ Disorder?

  • Do you suffer from a TMJ disorder?
  • Do you clench or grind your teeth?
  • Are your muscles stiff or sore when you wake up in the morning?
  • Do you suffer from periodic neck or headaches?
  • Does your pain worsen when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress on your teeth or jaw make your pain worse?
  • Does your jaw, grate, pop, click, lock or catch when you open your mouth?
  • Is there difficulty or pain when you open your mouth to eat or yawn?
  • Have you ever damage your head, jaws or neck?
  • Do you suffer from arthritis in other joints in your body?
  • Are there teeth that no longer touch when you bite down?
  • Do your teeth meet up differently when you bite?
  • Is it difficult to use your front teeth to tear or bite food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, broken, worn or loose?

Every ‘Yes’ answer to any of those questions increased the likelihood that you suffer from a TMJ disorder. Once you have a greater understanding of how TMJ disorders work you will have a better understanding of how to treat them.

Treatment

There are quite a few treatment options for TMJ disorders, all of which aim to recover the function of your jaw. As soon as a TMJ disorder is identified both Dr. lewis and Dr Lloyd can start to determine what the ideal treatment is for your specific problem. The best results are when there is a team approach of self care in combination with professional care.

The first priorities of the treatment are to relieve any joint pain and stop any muscle spasms. This is usually achieved through the use of muscle relaxants, pain medication, and anti inflammatories. There are many treatment options that you can do on your own. They include, using ice and heat, eating soft food, exercising the jaw, resting the jaw, practicing good posture, and keeping your teeth apart when you are not eating or swallowing.

Physical therapy and stress management methods like biofeedback may be helpful as well. A splint can also be used, it is a clear plastic appliance that is used to keep your teeth apart. It fits over both your top and bottom teeth and helps keep them apart which reduces muscle strain and pain. Different appliances solve different TMJ disorders, a nightguard will prevent grinding and clenching letting your muscles relax and safeguarding joint surfaces and cartilage.

An anterior positioning device will move your jaw forward, aiding in the repositioning of the disk and relieving pressure on sections of the jaw. It can be worn at all times to assist in the healing of your jaw. Another option that can be worn 24 hours a day is an orthotic stabilization appliance. It protects from tooth wear and relocates your jaw into the right spot.

Bite Correction and Surgery Options.

If your teeth do not fit together correctly as a result of a TMJ disorder treatment like bite adjustment, restorative dental work, or orthodontics that may feature jaw reconstruction may be required. In very severe cases open joint repair surgery and arthroscopy may be required. TMJ surgery is only an option if the jaw is unable to open, has severe degeneration, is dislocated and non-reducible, or if the patient has had appliance treatment not work for them in the past.

Martindale Dental provides both general and specialty dentistry under one roof.  For more than 20 years, our dentists have been advocates for their patients oral health care needs. Our dental offices are conveniently located in Toronto, North York, St Catharines, North York, Burlington, Milton East and Milton West, Ontario. We offer convenient before & after work and weekend appointments.