The Temperomandibular joint (TMJ) is the jaw joint. The TMJ is a ball and socket joint and plays a critical part in the functions of chewing, swallowing and talking.
Problems with the TMJ are generally termed temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJD. Any dysfunction to the joint prevents the complex system of muscles, bones and joints working together in harmony. The typical symptoms of any type of TMJD may include pain localised to the area or spreading to include aching of the face, neck and head, excessive wear on the teeth, sensitive and cracked teeth, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) locking, clicking or grinding when the jaw opens and closes.
Common causes of TMJD are trauma, (acute or chronic), whiplash, maloccusion (bad bite), poor posture, clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism) and skeletal malformation.
Airway impairment, (the inability to breathe deeply through the nose, without snoring), can be caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils, anatomic malformation, and soft tissue allergies. Airway impairment is a major cause of dental malocclusion. If left untreated, the result will be poor posture and tooth grinding which may lead to dysfunction of the temperomandibular joint.
Most dentists will agree that TMJD can be extremely difficult to treat. TMJD can be caused by asymmetries in other parts of the body. Sometimes the TMJ will compensate for a rotated pelvis or incorrect foot position. At Natural Holistic Dentist we spend a long time talking to our patients so we can obtain a thorough history. Our approach is often a collaborative approach of dental treatment combined with referral to other health professionals such as osteopaths, physiotherapists and sleep physicians.
Our goal is to help alleviate your pain and empower you with a long term management solution to prevent your symptoms recurring.