Many patients do not realise that problems such as headaches, earaches and tinnitus can be helped by your dentist. In fact, many of these problems originate with the jaw, and are known as Temporomandibular Disorders. Often abbreviated to TMD or TMJ, this diagnosis covers a range of conditions that cause problems with the jaw, its surrounding joints and muscles. One of the main symptoms is pain, discomfort or difficulty moving your jaw, for example when chewing food.
At 25 Devonshire Place, our dental team are experienced in treating TMD and other jaw problems. Often special jaw correction devices can be used to alleviate symptoms and treat the condition.
TMD and other jaw problems present a wide range of symptoms, which include:
- Pain or discomfort around your jaw joint, face, head, neck or shoulders when chewing or speaking
- Problems in opening your mouth wide
- Bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching)
- Clicking jaw
- Jaws that lock open or shut
- Unexplained toothache
- Earache, tinnitus and problems with hearing
- Swelling around the jaw joint or on one side of your face
- Persistent headaches that do not have a neurological cause
The cause of TMD remains a subject of debate for the dental industry, but most dentists agree it is caused by problems with either the jaw joints themselves or the muscles surrounding them.
Factors that may cause TMD include:
- Injury to the temporomandibular joint, the jaw or the head or neck muscles (for example, sports injuries or whiplash)
- Bruxism (grinding/clenching your teeth)
- Stress that causes tightening of the facial muscles
- Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of the jaw joint
- Underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
Our experienced dentists can diagnose TMD and other jaw problems, and will provide you with a treatment plan that may include using special correction devices. Treatments for TMD range from home-management methods to surgery.