TMJ and Bruxism

If you’ve been living with chronic headaches, neck or shoulder pain, you may never have considered calling your dentist to find a solution. But you might be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Living with this kind of pain on a daily basis can make it difficult to perform even the simplest tasks.

We welcome your call to our Maroubra Junction, NSW dental clinic. Dr Emmanuel Pertsoulis has diagnosed and treated many patients living with chronic pain in the head, neck and shoulders as well as ringing in the ears and dizziness for TMD (temporomandibular disorder), including bruxism.

Are TMD and TMJ the Same Thing?

People tend to use these acronyms interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. The TMJ refers to the joints and muscles the enable you to open and close your mouth. TMD refers to disorders of that joint. Like any joint in the body that can become painful and inflamed from overuse, so too can the TMJ.

Some of the common signs of problems with the TMJ include:

  • Broken or worn teeth from clenching or grinding the teeth (also called bruxism)
  • Throbbing jaw pain
  • Chronic headaches and neck and shoulder pain
  • Clicking or popping when opening and closing the mouth

As part of every patient check-up, we routinely assess the function of the TMJ as well as the surrounding structures. Issues such as popping, clicking or locking will help to assess whether there is inflammation in the joint. We will also assess the bite as well as any restorations that might be contributing to the problem

What Is Bruxism?

Teeth clenching or grinding is usually an unconscious habit that occurs during the night when people are sleeping. Often people are unaware they are even doing it until their sleep partner hears it or when their dentist notices undue wear with the teeth or broken restorations. Chronic stress can make teeth grinding worse.

A protective oral appliance, called a nightguard, can help keep people from grinding their teeth during the night. This splint keeps the jaw muscles from being fully engaged when the mouth is closed, so it eliminates the jaw and headache pain that usually accompanies bruxism.

Treatment for TMD

These types of disorders occur for many different reasons, and treatment will vary from patient to patient. Lifestyle changes, such as finding ways to help relieve stress, are often helpful. For others, a nightguard can protect against teeth grinding. In many cases, simply adjusting the bite can resolve the problem.

How Can I Get Started with Treatment?

You don’t have to live with chronic pain from TMD. We welcome you to call us on (02) 9344 4888 to arrange an appointment with Dr Pertsoulis and associates who will help find solutions that can help restore your quality of life.