The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the joint between your jaw bone and the rest of your skull. A commonly undiagnosed condition in many people is TMD, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, which can involve aching in your jaws, clicking noises and/or pain when opening or closing your mouth. The causes are not always clear, but can include stress (e.g. anxiety), trauma and parafunction (including grinding your teeth at night, clenching your jaw or biting your nails). Our dentists at Vale Dental are able to diagnose TMD based on clinical signs and a history of jaw discomfort, and depending on the type of TMD are able to recommend the appropriate treatment.
While severe cases can require a surgical approach with a specialist under general anaesthetic, often TMD can be treated in a conservative, non-invasive way. Sometimes an awareness of clenching/grinding your teeth and an active attempt to stop this behaviour is enough to resolve the problem. This is of course not possible if clenching/grinding occurs while asleep, and in these instances our dentists in Brookvale are able to construction a “night guard” or splint to protect your jaws and teeth from damage, while relaxing the muscles in the jaws. Further recommendations in behaviour modification and medications can also be prescribed, while referral to an appropriate physiotherapist for specific jaw exercises does help in certain cases.