The lowdown on TMD and how to manage it

Even if you’re not familiar with all types of dentistry, you’ve probably heard of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). The Practice dentists in West End are experienced in dealing with a range of TMD conditions and can help you develop a greater understanding to help you manage the symptoms and decide on treatment. 

What is TMD? 

This term refers to a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is what connects your jaw to your skill. 

The TMJ helps you to move your jaw up and down, as well as side to side and is what allows you to talk, chew and yawn. The temporomandibular joint is critical, as it is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. If you experience any kind of dysfunction with this joint, it can cause discomfort and pain.

Understanding TMD – The causes and symptoms

TMD refers to a range of different conditions that affect the TMJ and/or the muscles surrounding it. It can include jaw injuries, teeth grinding (bruxism), arthritis and jaw clenching. Symptoms you could experience include: 

  • Jaw pain. 
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing your mouth. 
  • Headaches. 
  • Earaches. 
  • Difficulty chewing.

How to manage TMD

At The Practice, we take a comprehensive approach to address both the symptoms and underlying causes of TMD. Here are a few strategies to manage TMD: 

Professional examination: A thorough examination by a dentist is vital to accurately diagnosing TMD. Our dentist will examine your jaw’s range of motion, identify any signs of joint dysfunction and determine any potential contributing factors. 

Pain management: There’s a range of over-the-counter pain medications available to help you manage discomfort caused by TMD. You can also use moist heat or cold packs. In some cases, muscle relaxants may be recommended to alleviate pain associated with TMD. 

Lifestyle changes: Certain areas of your lifestyle may be contributing to TMD. Addressing stress, poor posture or teeth grinding is essential to help relieve the discomfort of TMD. Stress management or wearing a custom-designed mouthguard can be great techniques for bruxism. 

Physical therapy: There are specific exercises and stretches designed to improve jaw mobility and reduce muscle tension that can be prescribed by a physical therapist.

Orthodontic treatment: Orthodontic interventions, such as braces or splints, can help to correct misalignments contributing to TMD.

Surgical options: In severe cases where more conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical interventions may be considered. However, surgery is typically reserved for specific conditions and is not the first line of treatment.

The Practice approach to TMD

At The Practice, our experienced dentists will work with you to design a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and symptoms. From your first appointment, we’ll ensure 

a thorough evaluation of your oral health, including a detailed assessment of your jaw function and any signs of TMD. Our patient-centred approach means that we prioritise open communication, actively involving you in the decision-making process. 

Understanding that TMD can show up differently for everyone, we tailor our treatments to address the specific factors contributing to your condition. Whether your TMD is related to muscle disorders, joint issues, bruxism, or other factors, our goal is to provide effective relief and improve your overall oral well-being. 

We may incorporate various strategies, such as lifestyle modifications, pain management techniques, orthodontic interventions, or physical therapy, depending on the nature and severity of your TMD.

Throughout the treatment process, our team will guide you with expertise and empathy, ensuring you feel informed, supported, and empowered in managing your TMD. We believe in a holistic approach that not only addresses immediate symptoms but also considers long-term oral health goals.

If you are suffering from discomfort caused by TMD, book an appointment at The Practice online, or call 07 3733 3223. 

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