TMJ disorder: The mouth and body connection

shutterstock153919472Jaw pain, migraines, headaches ear-aches, locking and popping sounds when opening your jaw…these are the commonly associated symptoms of a TMJ disorder, commonly referred to as TMD.

Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint occurs when the jaw joint becomes misaligned and can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Headaches, migraines, facial or jaw pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears and dizziness
  • Sensitive or sore teeth, difficulty eating

At Australia Fair Dental Care in Southport, our dentists can provide effective treatment of TMD to help reduce and even eliminate these uncomfortable symptoms for good.

What causes TMD

Serious injury to the jaw is a leading cause of TMD. For instance, anything from a blow to the jaw during a sporting activity to repetitive overuse, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too often, may cause TMD.

Both physical and emotional stress can lead to TMD, but is not usually the root cause; however the body’s reaction to stress can be. For example, when your body undergoes psychological stress, you may find you unconsciously clench your teeth.

How does my bite influence my back, neck and cranium?

When the TMJ is not in alignment (usually caused by a severe malocclusion such as an overbite, cross bite or under bite) it puts immense pressure on the jaw joints which can cause muscles in the back and neck to become overworked, resulting in pain or discomfort. When a muscle isn’t functioning properly, other muscles will begin to compensate to allow for proper movement. Since these muscles are not designed to be used in this way, it can result in headaches, migraines and neck pain.

Oral Appliance Therapy

At Australia Fair Dental Care on the Gold Coast we are able to diagnose and treat TMD to help relieve you of your symptoms. By using treatments such as dental appliances to move your bite to its correct positioning, we can realign your jaw joints for enhanced facial harmony.

This treatment focuses on correcting the misalignment of your jaw, which is often the leading cause for TMD.  As the body is connected; postural problems can be linked with jaw joint being out of alignment misalignment which can trigger severe headaches or migraines. To alleviate the pain and discomfort, the jaw and joint needs to be brought into alignment.

During your examination we conduct a full mouth examination to determine whether your symptoms related to your temporomandibular joint and if so, which type of treatment may be the best solution for you. We have found that many of our patients prescribed with a night guard, commonly known as a splint, have seen a dramatic reduction in TMD related symptoms.

Expected Results

Decrease compression: Wearing your night guard over a designated period of time can decrease compression on the pain sensitive tissues to decrease pain, improve circulation and muscle relaxation.

Realign the lower jaw: The dental bite, the jaw muscles, head posture and the TMJ all determine the relative jaw position.  When one or more of these factors is dysfunctional it can alter the bond between the upper and lower jaw causing referred further pain and dysfunction.

Protection: Studies have found that up to 95% of the population clenches or grinds their teeth knowingly or subconsciously. When a joint or muscles are injured they need to be able to rest in order to heal. When a person is clenching or grinding their teeth they can exert unnecessary pressure onto their teeth and jaws. Oral appliances cannot only act as a behavioural reminder they can also be designed to take advantage of the body’s natural ability to inhibit jaw muscle contraction.

A night guard can protect your teeth, supporting bone and periodontal structures.  The pressure and weight on your teeth is one of the major causes of tooth pain, tooth splintering and tooth loss.

To discover more about the TMD treatment we provide at Australia Fair Dental Care, or to arrange an appointment with one of our highly experienced team, please contact us.