The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the bones of your skull and moves the jaw up and down. If you have problems with this joint (known as temporomandibular disorder or TMD), your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and carry out a medical evaluation. They may also take x-rays to your jaw joint and see how your teeth bite together.
Most common symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw, cheek, temple, neck and back
- Locking of the jaw
- Clicking or popping
- Problems with chewing
Teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw (known as bruxism) can contribute to TMD. This usually occurs unconsciously while you are sleeping and is generally caused by stress and anxiety. Bruxism can cause tooth wear, breakage and sensitivity.
We offer the following treatment options:
Splints or night guards – these can be worn to protect the teeth from grinding. Repositioning splints are worn all the time to pull the lower jaw forward and night guards, which cover all the teeth, are worn while you sleep.
In-ear device – an innovative, discreet device worn in the ear canal to keep the jaw in an open position.
Medicine – anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve pain and swelling. Muscle relaxants loosen tight muscles and anti-anxiety medicines can help relieve the stress that can lead to teeth grinding.
Surgery – this may be considered if other treatment options have not proved successful.
We encourage patients to attend regular check-ups, your dentist will be able to pick up any signs of tooth wear and check the alignment of your jaws.