Here at London Holistic Dental Centre, we are always trying to raise awareness of oral issues, and this article is looking at Temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMD or TMJ disorder. The Temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint is the part of your jaw that connects your jawbone to your skull- they are located either side of the face and the bones that make up the joints are separated by a small cartilage disk. Painful TMJ disorders can occur when this disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment or is damaged by arthritis or a heavy impact.
There are many reasons why a TMJ disorder can develop but the majority seem to originate with misalignment of the jaws and/or teeth which causes compression within the joints, squeezing the disc and in serious cases leading on to arthritis. Complicating factors and triggers include bruxism (teeth grinding), trauma and stress.
TMJD has been called “The great imposter” as symptoms can initially appear in other areas and be mistaken for other problems. You may have a TMJ disorder if you have:
- Pain and tenderness in the jaw muscles
- Pain around one or both of the TM joints
- Aching pain in or around the ear or eyes
- Difficulty chewing
- Changes in the bite (how teeth fit together)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Locking of the joint, making it hard to open and close your mouth
- Clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
As you can see, there are a whole host of symptoms when it comes to TMJ disorders, meaning that it isn’t easy to diagnose- the bottom line is, if you feel any symptoms similar to these it’s a good idea to have it checked by your dentist, early intervention can prevent complications and often means simpler and quicker treatment.
If you feel symptoms, things to try at home are – eat softer foods like pasta and soup, take anti-inflammatory painkillers or use alternating ice/heat packs on the affected areas, or massage the jaw muscles. Correct diagnosis is essential for effective treatment and not all health care professionals are comfortable dealing with this complex area.
Our advanced training allows us to the root of the issue right away! If you have any worries or issues, jaw-related or otherwise, just give us at London Holistic a call on 020 7487 5221 and we will book you in for an appointment as soon as possible.