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Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)

Jaw Movement | Locking of Jaw | TMD Treatment in Melbourne

The jaw joint is also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) is common and can affect one or both joints causing carrying degrees of pain or affecting jaw movement and/or function.

  • Grinding or clenching teeth, sometimes linked to stress or habit.
  • Emotional or physical stress and tension in the jaw muscles.
  • Missing Teeth
  • Traumatic injuries such as fractures or dislocations of the TMJ.
  • Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis .
  • Poorly shaped fillings, crowns and bridges.
  • Limited range of jaw movement.
  • Difficulty or ‘locking’ of the jaw on opening.
  • Noises from the jaw joint e.g. clicking, grating or popping.
  • Pain when chewing, yawning or opening the jaw widely.
  • Headaches or Earaches
  • Pain from around the ears or cheek, neck, back and shoulder.
  • Toothache
  • An Uncomfortable Bite

The diagnosis of TMD should be made by your dentist from a thorough medical and dental history as well as a clinical examination prior to any treatment.

TMD is best treated conservatively and aims to reduce pain and symptoms and restore jaw function.

Treatment methods include:

    • Occlusal splints/night guards. These customised appliances are worn at night to relieve pressure on the jaw joint and teeth and protect the tooth surface from grinding. They need to be regularly adjusted by your dentist.
    • Limiting extreme jaw movements e.g. supporting the jaw when you yawn, resting the jaw where possible
    • Keeping to a soft diet, avoiding chewy food, cutting food up into small pieces.
    • Physiotherapy e.g. gentle massage and stretching of the jaw muscles, relief of tension in the head and neck
    • Warm or cold packs to relax the jaw muscles
    • Relaxation techniques and stress management to reduce tension in your jaw muscles and joint
    • Medications
    • Specialist management for cases of chronic pain and dysfunction and where conservative treatment has been ineffective. Rarely is surgery indicated.