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Severe jaw pain

TMJ Treatment

Your TMJ — or temporomandibular joint — is the hinge joint on either side of your jaw, just in front of each ear. You rely on it thousands of times per day, with it moving every time you talk, eat, smile or yawn.

So when your TMJ flares up or has some type of physical disorder, it can significantly impact your day-to-day activities.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder (TMD)

Although most of us will experience TMJ pain from time to time, a disorder of the joints is less common. Typically it’s brought on by chronic stress, bruxism (grinding), physical trauma or even tooth misalignment.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you could have – or be at risk for – TMJ disorder:

  • Headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Limited opening
  • Pain when chewing
  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Joint stiffness
  • Popping or clicking in your joint
  • Flat, chipped or worn teeth
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Sleep apnoea

Professional TMJ Evaluations

The first step in treating TMD is to have your joint evaluated by a professional. During your dental checkup at our Kellyville dental office, we’ll assess the joint’s function. We may also order a full-mouth scan or X-ray to look inside of the joint to identify any type of physical abnormalities (such as damage to the disk or bone resorption).

Depending on the extent of the condition and whether clinical TMJ disorder is present, we may prescribe a protective splint or occlusal guard.

Occasional joint flare-ups can happen during times of stress or mild injuries. When that’s the case, at-home TMJ relief typically comes in the form of using a warm or cool compress to ease any swelling. An anti-inflammatory pain reliever will also be helpful when taken as directed. However, if symptoms persist, it’s important to speak to us.

If you experience TMJ pain or disorder symptoms more than once or twice a week, then the next step is to seek out a professional assessment. We’ll pinpoint the factors contributing to your joint pain and help identify the best treatment for your TMD condition.

Depending on the individual, most therapies will involve some type of an occlusal splint. For others, a more comprehensive approach may also include orthodontic therapy or tooth reconstruction.

Most people with TMJ disorder will benefit from a professionally-fitted occlusal guard. These special bite splints place a layer of cushion between the upper and lower teeth. Not only does this spacing prevent tooth wear but it also inhibits your TMJ from fully engaging. When that’s the case, your joint can’t clench up as tightly or strain the muscles immediately surrounding it. It essentially trains your mouth to relax.

When your mouth is at rest, the joint will be unengaged, your lips should be closed together and your teeth placed slightly apart.

Getting a TMJ splint made starts with a visit to our office and a quick impression of your teeth. We’ll use this mould to pour a customised appliance that will be ready to pick up and start wearing in just a few days.

How often should I wear my TMJ appliance?

We recommend wearing your occlusal splint every night or during the day if you’re experiencing a higher level of stress than normal. If the appliance begins to wear out because of excess teeth grinding it should be replaced.

Are over-the-counter mouthguards effective?

Unfortunately, most stock mouthguards are bulky and loose-fitting. It’s quite difficult to wear them for an extended period of time, such as overnight.

What about injectables for TMJ treatment?

Some providers do use cosmetic injectables as an off-label treatment for TMJ disorder. Since their ingredients tend to act like natural muscle relaxers, some people have found them to be a useful component of their treatment plan.

Should I get braces to help manage my TMJ symptoms?

If your teeth are misaligned (malocclusion), it may require atypical joint movement of your TMJ to chew your food. Irregular motions day after day can cause both pain and TMD. Orthodontic therapy may be required if you have a moderate to severe malocclusion.

My child grinds their teeth. What should I do?

Some children grind their teeth because of medications, anxiety or sleeping disorders. If there are behavioural concerns or bedwetting, it’s best to speak to your physician or paediatrician about the next steps to take.

Request Your Appointment Today

Are you struggling with frequent headaches or TMJ pain? Contact Kellyville Smiles today for an appointment.

* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

TMJ Treatment in Kellyville, North Kellyville, Kellyville Ridge, Beaumont Hills, Glenhaven, Rouse Hill NSW
(02) 8847 3115

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