TMJ Dysfunction

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is a condition which commonly affects young females

The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can be found on both sides of the head and connects the lower jaw to the skull. The joints work together in both hinge and ball and socket motions, to open and close the jaw allowing us to speak and eat. TMJD refers to a group of disorders affecting the TMJ and its surrounding muscles.

Signs and symptoms of TMJD include:

  • Pain in and around the TMJs and surrounding muscles
  • Clicking, popping or grinding sounds in the joints
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or locking of the jaw
  • Earache, headache or neck pain

What causes TMJD?

The cause of TMJD is multifactorial, and includes:

  • Injury to the joint
  • Grinding (bruxism) and clenching of the teeth, which is often stress-induced
  • Parafunctional habits like nail biting
  • An abnormal bite or arrangement of the teeth
  • Arthritis of the joint

Management of TMJD

Although TMJD can be extremely painful, it can be easily managed with simple self-care practices to do at home. To ease the symptoms, you are advised to:

  • Eat a soft diet
  • Restrict excessive movements of the jaw e.g. yawning
  • Apply heat packs and massage the face
  • Take analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Avoid chewing gum or nail biting

When do you need to see the dentist?

If symptoms persist it is important to see a dentist. Our dentists will carry out a thorough examination of the TMJ region and ask questions about your lifestyle and habits. If stress is an exacerbating factor, then often an explanation and reassurance by the dentist that the condition is benign, can do wonders!

The dentist can also help by providing:

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19a Caradoc Road,
NP44 1PP
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