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TMJ Dysfunction Treatment in Oakleigh, Melbourne 

Do you live with any of the following?

  • chronic headaches
  • migraines
  • neck pain
  • facial pain.

Have you ever thought to ask your dentist if you have TMJ dysfunction? Most of us will ask our doctor, the pharmacist or even Google, but few of us realise that dentists are the experts in treating a broad range of orofacial conditions. 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) 

The temporomandibular joint mouthful to say (pun intended): it’s said “tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur”. Hence we just call it the TMJ. 

temporomandibular joint disorder diagram TMJ Dysfunction TMD jaw condition

The TMJ connects the jawbone to the skull, and, as the image shows, the joint comprises a collection of small components. When problems arise in parts of this joint, we call it TMJ dysfunction, or TMD.

TMJ dysfunction (TMD)

People living with TMD may show the following symptoms:

  • loss of hearing, earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • jaw pain when yawning, chewing or opening the jaw widely
  • having a hard time in opening the mouth, or limited jaw movement
  • hearing popping, clicking or grating noises from the jaw joint
  • shoulder, neck, face or back pain
  • muscle spasm sensations
  • pain in or around the cheeks or ears
  • toothache
  • grinding or clenching of teeth (bruxism)
  • stuck or locked jaw movement.

Results of untreated TMD can include:

  • TMJ fractures and dislocations
  • osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other degenerative diseases
  • ill-shaped dental crowns, bridges and fillings
  • physical or emotional tension or stress in the muscles of the jaw
  • missing teeth
  • clenching or grinding of teeth, often stress-related.

Treating TMD

At our Oakleigh dental clinic, we firstly assess each patient thoroughly to determine if they are in fact showing signs of TMD symptoms. We may need to use imaging including X-rays to arrive at a diagnosis. The following list details the TMD treatments we offer:

  • appliance therapy such as a custom-made splint or bite plate to be worn at night (sometimes known as occlusal appliances)
  • dual-wavelength soft tissue diode laser therapy (Gemini laser therapy) to help with TMD muscle pain in the neck, face and cheeks
  • avoiding strenuous jaw movements such as excessive talking, or yawning or chewing
  • physiotherapy with stretches, exercises and massage
  • stress management techniques to minimise jaw tension
  • medications such as anti-inflammatory pills, analgesics (painkillers), muscle relaxants to be taken only as directed.

Our approach to managing TMD is to be as non-invasive as possible. Therefore we choose surgery as a rare last option, after we have attempted other treatments. If you need surgery, we will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if needed.