Treatments & Causes for TMJ Dysfunction


Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders affect the joints in your jaw and surrounding ligaments and muscles. It is a relatively common issue, with around 30% of adults experiencing this issue at some point in their lives. 

The TMJ refers to the joint at the front of your ears and where the jaw bone attaches to your skull. When you experience a disorder in this area, it is relatively painful and is often experienced by more women than men.

In this article will take a closer look at TMJ dysfunction and how it can be treated. We will also consider the holistic approach The Smile Designer uses as a treatment plan while considering new treatments as they come to hand. You will find our approach to be the least invasive possible. 


TMJ Disorder Types

When it comes to TMJ dysfunction, it’s not just a single disorder and can be divided into three broad types:

  • Internal Derangement: This aspect of the disease damages the inside of the joint. Your family dentist will determine whether this is from a jaw dislocation, bone injury, or a displaced disc.
  • Myofascial Pain: Dentists see a lot of the disease in this form. It’s when a patient is experiencing pain or discomfort in the jaw, shoulder, or neck muscles.
  • Degenerative Joint Disorder: This is commonly experienced by those living with arthritis. It causes a grinding noise and pain when the jaw moves.


What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?

There isn’t always an explanation for why a patient gets TMJ dysfunction. Some of the elements that cause it can be a combination of reasons, some of the most common being:

  1. Stress

When a patient is stressed, it can lead to the grinding and clenching of their teeth. In turn, this can cause muscle spasms and pain in the jaw.

  1. Trauma

If a patient obtains an injury to the jaw from a car accident, sporting injury, falling off a horse, or other similar experience, it can cause displacement and TMJ issues.

  1. Missing Teeth

When a patient has missing teeth, the way their food is chewed changes, causing TMJ problems.

  1. Misaligned Bite

If a patient’s jaw and teeth are misaligned, problems can occur from their teeth not fitting with one another.

  1. Arthritis

Arthritis is the loss of cartilage and erosion of the bone. When this occurs in the jaw, it is painful and a cause of TMJ disorder.


Common Symptoms

Numerous reasons can contribute to the issue, including the jaw making clicking and popping sounds. The symptoms range in intensity and duration and require evaluation from your dentist.

Each individual’s symptoms will vary and have different levels of pain tolerance, which include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Face pain
  • Back pain
  • Neckache
  • Ear pain/stuffiness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fatigue


Providing Uncomproming Treatment of TMJ

Our dentists at The Smile Designer use a holistic approach to their patients’ TMJ dental care. It has proven to be an effective and long-lasting approach to managing this disorder, and we never need to compromise our patient’s quality of life.

Treatment always begins with a thorough examination by our dentists to give their patients an accurate diagnosis. The process not only enables our team to get a good overview of the patient’s current oral health, but it also helps determine whether it is:

  • It’s entirely a jaw issue.
  • Other underlying dental problems are present.

While some dental practices choose treatments including mouthguards, injectables, eating soft foods, and surgery as a last resort, The Smile Designer dentists take pride in taking a different yet effective approach.

Some of the first steps include thoroughly examining a patient’s jaw structure and the health of their teeth. This determines whether any other related issues could be causing a patient’s pain.

The holistic therapies we generally remedy include the following:

  1. Facial Injections & Muscle Relaxants

In our team’s experience, as part of the TMJ treatment process, offering facial injections and muscle relaxants are highly successful and less invasive choices. The contractions of a patient’s jaw muscles cause headaches. Enabling the muscle to relax can help minimise this particular symptom.

Other mentioned symptoms: grinding, clenching, chronic migraines, limited ability for the mouth to open, and more are all eased through the use of injections and muscle relaxants.

  1. Mouth Guards & Night Splints

Another common sign of TMJ disorder is night grinding, which usually stems from stress. To ease teeth grinding, which can have a lot of effect on oral health, is a custom-made night guard. It protects your teeth, reduces the strain on your jaw muscles, and helps avoid long-term damage.

Similarly, a night splint also eases any stress on the TMJ and surrounding structures. It also helps protect the cartilage inside the joint. In relieving the pressure, your tense muscles get a reprieve and ease associated pain. 


When Should I See My Dentist?

We highly recommend visiting your dentist at the first sign of TMJ disorder. If left, you’re likely to experience significant pain in varying forms. 

If you are good at keeping your twice-yearly check-ups, your family dentist may see early signs and treat the causes before they become invasive. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you will be walked through the varying options for treatment and get it managed quickly.


Contact The Smile Designer for TMJ Treatment

Patients visiting us at The Smile Designer for TMJ disorder benefit from us being a highly reputable TMJ centre in Melbourne. We look at each patient’s oral health and then give them effective solutions to ease jaw pain and disorders.

Whether your TMJ is complex or mild, our dental clinic is the place to turn to should you know or suspect you’re living with this disorder. We are continually looking for holistic ways to help ease our patient’s pain and undertake further investigation into the treatment options available.

Our specialist TMJ dentists and support staff welcome your enquiries, whether you give us a call, pop into our clinic or make a booking online.