Jaw Joint Pain and a clicking Jaw are known as Temporomandibular Dysfunction Syndrome. The Temporomandibular joint acts as a hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. It is responsible for facilitating jaw movement when you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn. Suffers endure clicking jaw joints in front of the ears. Sometimes the jaws can lock which can be painful. TMJ disorders can range from mild to extremely uncomfortable.
Causes of Joint Pain
While there is no definite conclusion as to the causes of TMD, dental professionals believe that joint pain can be caused damaged or dysfunctional muscles of the jaw or the temporomandibular joint itself. Damage to the muscles and joint can be caused by any of the following:
- Grinding or clenching the teeth which puts excessive pressure on the joint.
- Damage or movement of the disc in the joint.
- Arthritis of the joint.
- Stress which can cause a person to tighten the facial muscles and clench the teeth.
- An injury or accident like a heavy blow to the jaw or temple.
Symptoms of TMD associated with Joint Pain.
Generally, TMD causes pain and discomfort. This condition can be temporary and last for a short time, in other cases, it can last for many years. TMD can affect one or both sides of the face. Statistically, the number of women who present with TMD is higher than men. TMD can affect any age, but it is most common in people between 20 and 40 years of age.
The often symptoms associated with TMD include:
- Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
- Jaws locking in the open- or closed-mouthposition.
- Clicking or popping in the jaw when you open or close your mouth or chew.
- A tired feeling, tightening sensation or discomfort in your face.
- Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly.
- Swelling on the side of your face.
If you experience any of these symptoms, we strongly that you contact us to arrange for an examination appointment so that we can diagnose the condition and plan the appropriate treatment.
Diagnosing TMD and Joint Pain.
At Blue Spa Dental, we conduct a full examination, not only of the jaw and facial muscles but also a dental examination to assess the health of your teeth. This is because some dental problems can cause symptoms similar to those experienced in TMD cases. For example, tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis and gum disease can cause similar symptoms. Therefore, it is important to examine all possible causes to rule out unlikely issues and identify the underlying condition.
The diagnosis starts with attending at our clinics for an appointment where our dentists ask about your health history including dental and oral procedures you had performed on your teeth, gum or jaw. The dentist will check your jaw joints for any tenderness or pain and listen and try to feel any clicking, popping or grating sounds in the joint. He or she will ask you to open your mouth wide and close your mouth and in varying speeds and sudden motion and will check for locking of the jaw. In addition, they will test your bite, jaw alignment as well as check your facial muscles.
Your dentist may also take x-rays of the full face so he or she can have a more in depth look at your jaw and teeth to rule out unlikely causes. Other imaging may also be taken like MRI and CT scans which provides for better view of the jaw joint bone and disc details.
You may be seen by our one of our maxillofacial surgeons if needed to provide an assessment from a specialised or surgical diagnosis.
Treating TMD and Joint Pain.
There are a number of treatments available to deal with jaw joint pain problems. Our dentists will discuss your treatment options with you and proceed to subscribe the most appropriate treatment depending on the severity of the joint pain you are experiencing. Treatments include:
- Medication: There are available medications that can help in pain relief and reduce the joint swelling. In addition, medication can subscribed relax the jaw to minimise grinding the teeth and, in some cases, the dentist ay recommend stress relief and anti-anxiety drugs as stress can cause clenching on the jaw.
- Night Guard or Splint: A plastic appliance — mouthpiece — that fits over the upper and lower teeth to prevent touching, grinding or clenching. They are also designed to correct the positioning and alignment of your jaw. A night guard is used at night while you sleep while a splint is worn all the time.
- Dental Procedures: Your dentist may identify that misalignment may be caused by missing teeth. He or she may replace missing teeth with crowns or bridges or use braces or other orthodontic options to correct your bite.
Depending on the effectiveness and results of these treatments, a dentist, after examining the results may recommend further treatments including electrical nerve stimulation, deep heat applied to the joint, pain medication injected directly into the facial muscles and low level laser therapy to help lower the inflammation.
In addition, Jaw Joint Surgery can be performed if TMD is caused by structural problems in the joint. However, it is recommended that surgery be avoided as it is invasive and should be considered only in special cases and after a series of assessments and trials of other treatment methods.
Knowledge of TMD and Joint Pain.
Statistics show that the majority of patients become aware of the dental and facial problem aspects to jaw joint pain, feeling fatigue and experiencing headaches only after they are referred by their general practitioner to a dentist or maxillofacial surgeon. Therefore, the majority of patients we treat were in fact advised to see us by their doctors after presenting with jaw joint pain and possible TMD. If you suffer from pain around the jaw joint, ears and often experience headaches, it is wise to contact us to make an appointment so that we can assess your condition and treat any joint problems that you may have and help you regain function in a pain free fashion.
JOINT PAIN TREATMENT
Blue Spa Dentists can diagnose and treat jaw joint pain appropriately and proportionally. This is because our dental professionals are trained practitioners who have extensive experience in treating TMD and Joint Pain in its varying levels of severity. We understand the condition and we do, therefore, understand the pain and discomfort that you may suffer as a result of jaw joint problems and inflammation. We have treated many patients effectively and helped them return to enjoying the full of use of their jaws without pain or discomfort. This lead to reducing and eliminating the headache pain associated with this condition. Feel free to call us and describe your condition. We will give you an honest advice and recommendation as to whether we believe you should arrange an appointment to see one of our dentists or maxillofacial surgeons.
If you are frequently experiencing pain in your facial muscles, jaw and around the ears and headaches you may be experiencing Jaw Joint Pain or TMD which can be treated with a number of available options.. Contact us today to make an appointment on
MELBOURNE – HEIDELBERG – HILLSIDE