Head Ache / Facial Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that makes it possible to chew. This joint allows your jaw to open and close, and allows jaw movement forward, backward, and sideways. The TMJ only works properly if the lower jaw and its movements are synchronized.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a condition caused by strenuous physical activities, stressful situations, overuse of the muscles, and grinding of the teeth. TMJ disorders are also sometimes referred to as Craniomandibular Dysfunction and Craniofacial Pain. TMD affects jaw muscles, the temporomandibular joint, and nerves where movements become out of synch. These habits wear out the jaw muscles and lead to headache or neck pain. Symptoms tend to be chronic and many symptoms may not appear to be related to the TMJ itself.

You may be suffering from these symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Ear pain, Neck pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Grinding, clicking, or popping sounds
  • Dizziness
  • Clogged or full ears, ringing ears
  • Unresolved tooth pain, sensitive teeth
  • Restricted mouth opening, jaw discomfort
  • Jaw locking when talking, yawning or eating.

Behaviors or conditions that can lead to TMJ disorders

  • Consistent gum chewing or fingernail biting
  • Stress
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Trauma to the jaws

Bruxism or teeth clenching and grinding teeth increase the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ. Most patients are unaware of these habits because it usually happens while sleeping. Most patients awaken with jaw and ear soreness.

How are patients evaluated and diagnosed when TMJ problems are suspected?
We recommend a complete dental and medical evaluation to evaluate patients with suspected TMJ disorders. Diagnostic records or diagnostic procedures may be used to establish the diagnosis. Dental x-rays such us Panoramic x-rays and diagnostic impressions maybe taken. Damaged jaw joints are suspected when there are popping, clicking, and grating sounds associated with movement of the jaw.

TMD is treatable. Occlusal Therapy such as a nighttime mouth guard or Bite Splint Splint Therapy. More severe cases can treated with physical therapy, ice and hot packs, posture training, stress management, Correction of bite abnormalities and Surgery. TMD is usually cyclical and may return when the patient experiences stress. Our office can recommend the right therapy for you.

Questions about TMD

Can’t I just use a store-bought mouth guard?
If your dentist determines that you need a mouth guard, you need an appliance that fits your specific bite. Using any other device can actually do more harm than good.

Is surgery my only option for TMD treatment?
In about 95 percent of cases your dentist can recommend non-surgical treatment for TMD. Strengthening exercises, massage therapy, reducing stress, and mouth guards are a few of the options available to decrease symptoms and relieve your discomfort.

What causes TMD?
When your TMJ are out of sync, the associated muscles get fatigued and the nerves become strained. Common causes of TMD include stress, trauma, teeth grinding, arthritis, improperly fitting dental work, and posture issues.







TMJ Dentist in Toronto