TMJ & TMD in Chatswood
It’s easy to think of a dentist as someone who treats only teeth and gum problems. The truth, however, is that dentists are experts of the entire oral area, including the muscles and joints that allow your jaw to function properly.
This particular field of dentistry is known as neuromuscular dentistry, and it focuses on ensuring that your bite is comfortable and functional. With neuromuscular dentistry techniques, we can track your jaw’s movement and assess any symptoms you are experiencing to determine the correct treatment, which may include an occlusal splint or an orthotic.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. These are the joints where your lower jaw and upper jaw connect. If you place your fingers just below your earlobes and open and close your mouth, you’ll feel these joints in action!
The TMJ is an important joint with a wide range of motion. It allows you to move your jaw up and down, side to side, back and forth, and even around in a circle. It is thanks to this range of motion that humans are able to have such a varied diet and speak in such complex languages.
Unfortunately, this also means that the TMJ can be prone to problems. While some TMJ problems can be connected to trauma or arthritis, sometimes it’s unclear what triggers the pain. When the TMJ isn’t functioning properly, the condition is called TMD for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (although many people refer to condition as TMJ as well).
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ/TMD?
Joint dysfunction is usually associated with:
- Pain in the joint
- Pain in the muscles that may radiate down the neck or into the shoulders
- Frequent headaches and migraines
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Clicking and popping in the joint
- Teeth grinding
- Ear infections
- Restricted airway or difficulty breathing
Any of these symptoms should be checked out at once before the condition can progress.
How Is TMJ/TMD Treated?
At Chatswood Dental Associates, joint treatment is usually a three-step process:
- Muscle Spasm and Pain Relief – The first thing we’ll want to do is give you relief from your symptoms. We’ve found that the best way to do this is by using a therapy called ultra low frequency transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation, or ULF-TENS. We know this sounds complex and intimidating, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. The device causes a rhythmic pulsing that relaxes the muscles by increasing blood flow and stimulating your body’s production of endorphins, a natural pain reliever. Once your jaw muscles relax, they’ll be more easily realigned into the appropriate position.
- Bite Stabilisation – We’ll prescribe an orthotic device that is worn over the teeth to help stabilise your bite. This device allows us to easily adjust your bite without making changes to the teeth. Once your symptoms are under control and your bite is stable, we can make permanent adjustments to correctly position your jaw alignment.
- Long-Term Management – Several options are available to permanently correct your bite and prevent further pain, damage, and other symptoms. We’ll discuss your options with you and provide a recommendation that is customised to your specific needs.
Call for an Evaluation
If you’ve been experiencing pain in the jaw joints or muscles, please don’t wait another minute. Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that something is wrong. Call Chatswood Dental Associates today to schedule a consultation and evaluation with one of our doctors.