Temporomandibular joint pain: a guide from our dentist

Tuesday, 7th June, 2022

Tooth grinding is a common condition diagnosed at our dentist Navan, which can otherwise often go under the radar. If you have a habit of tooth grinding, general fatigue, regular headaches and occasional migraines read more, as you may be experiencing TMJ disorder.

What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. It's what allows you to move your jaw up and down, from side to side, and back and forth.

When this joint isn't working properly, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. This is called TMJ disorder, or TMD. When patients walk into our surgery with tooth pain in the morning and heavy wear on the biting surfaces of their teeth, we often find that they are clenching and grinding at night. This is often the body's attempt to correct an unlying misalignment that is placing uneven pressure on the joints and resulting in a repetitive strain like injury.

There are a number of different dysfunctions that can occur with the TMJ. There can be dislocation, when the joint becomes dislocated, meaning that the bones have come out of alignment. This can be extremely painful and make it suddenly difficult to open and close your mouth.

Arthritis of the TMJ is relatively common. This can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, making it difficult to move your jaw or there can be inflammation of the TMJ causing pain and swelling. A patient may also suffer from chronic muscle spasms in some cases.

Nighttime teeth grinding

Bruxism is a common condition that can cause TMD. Many people who grind their teeth do it at night, without realising it. Nighttime grinding can be loud enough to wake up a sleep partner. It can also lead to headaches, jaw pain, and other symptoms.

It also damages the enamel of your teeth. Our dentist Navan can help you with this problem by providing a personalised mouthguard to prevent further damage, while being comfortable enough to sleep in. And we will treat any cavities that may have formed on the weakened tooth surfaces.

Delayed diagnosis

Often patients will have been suffering from migraine headaches and poor sleep for years and have often consulted with their doctor before realising the connection with their teeth and receiving a diagnosis at our dentist Navan. This coupled with how minor and easily ignored this ailment can be leads to a delayed diagnosis and treatment. This is usually when the impact on a patient's life becomes severe, and the condition is fairly advanced.

Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the TMJ disorder. In some cases, home remedies may be enough to relieve symptoms. But in other cases, you may need medical or surgical intervention. Orthodontic treatment is often the most successful long-term solution.

Does any of this sound familiar?

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact our team today to schedule an appointment. We can help you find relief from your pain in the short term and get you back on track with a treatment plan towards a permanent solution. We accept medical card patients too.


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