TMJ Treatment

The 'temporomandibular joint' (TMJ) or commonly known as the ''jaw joint'', is where the lower jaw connects to the base of the skull. The position of this joint is just in front of your ears and it can be felt by opening and closing your jaw while gently pressing this position.


The number of patients presenting to their dentist with TMD are becoming more and more common. Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

Sore jaws, toothaches, sinus problems, neck and back pain, ear aches / ringing ears, headaches / migraines, the teeth of both jaws do not feel like they are biting properly, pain when chewing or yawning, limited opening of the jaws, pain on opening or closing of the jaw, facial tension, clicking jaw (disc rubs on the bone), locked jaw.

The causes of TMD are also numerous with one or more of the following causes being responsible:

  1. Ear infections
  2. Injuries to the jaw joint
  3. Autoimmune disorders such as osteo or rheumatoid arthritis
  4. Dental fillings not properly adjusted
  5. Grinding and or clenching of the teeth
  6. Stress: emotional and/or physical
  7. Bad occlusion
  8. Anatomical deformities

Diagnosis of TMD can be difficult due to its numerous causes and symptoms. A systematic approach must be performed by your dentist to rule out all possible causes before treatment can be commenced. Your dentist will normally co-ordinate with other healthcare professionals to prepare a treatment plan so that all aspects of the problem, being physical and/or emotional are dealt with.

Patients will be referred to a general medical practioner to eradicate it being a medical problem if it does not appear to be a dental problem.

If symptoms are acute eg. very painful, can’t open jaws, these will be dealt with immediately using medication, occlusal splint (see below), and/or physiotherapy. After dealing with the acute symptoms the patient is then treated as a chronic (long term non- severe) sufferers.
The following steps are usually followed, dealing with the simplest issues first and eradicating them as possible causes of the problem.

1. All dental infections
2. Occlusal splint therapy
3. Soft diet
4. Heat packs
5. Physiotherapy
6. Myotherapy
7. Stress Management
8. Surgery

A complete treatment plan is the only way to deal with TMD.