What is temporomandibular joint disorder? A brief introduction to TMD and other jaw problems

While most dental professionals will be able to tell you everything about root canals, braces and even dental implants, there are few who will be able to tell you a great deal about temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), despite it being a common condition.

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Although it has been written about in dental literature for many years and is fairly common in dental practices across the UK, there is not a lot of information available to dental patients who have been diagnosed with it. This can be particularly distressing, especially when the disorder causes discomfort or seems to be getting worse. However, rest assured, there are many treatment options available to make TMD more manageable and in some cases, it can be completely reversed.

At Castle Lane Dental Care, our team are able to help our patients manage both TMD and jaw problems in Bournemouth. Using a combination of orthodontic options alongside custom mouthpieces, we can help you to ease the more uncomfortable aspects of the disorder, without impacting on your overall oral health. Brilliant!

But, as with most things, knowledge is power. Here, our team provides a brief introduction to TMD and jaw problems in Bournemouth.

What is it?

In layman’s terms, temporomandibular joint disorder is an umbrella term for a myriad of issues that revolve around the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull.

This can cause issues with opening the mouth, nocturnal grinding, or may even cause problems with eating or speaking.

What causes it?

There are a few recognised causes of both TMD and jaw problems in Bournemouth. The first is genetics; if your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with TMD, you are at a higher risk of suffering from it.

Secondly, many patients who have had facial traumas or have experienced whiplash suffer from TMD, along with people who grind their teeth at night, though this may be a cause or a symptom of TMD.

Do I have it?

If you frequently wake up with headaches, experience migraines or have a recurring stiffness in your neck, jaw or shoulders, then you may have TMD.

Similarly, our team will be able to assess you for TMD if you have issues with opening your mouth wide, or if when you do open your mouth, you hear a clicking sound. You may also have soreness or tenderness around your face – the discomfort caused by TMD is not always in the joint area.

Treatment options

You will be glad to know that there are many things our dentists can do to ease your symptoms if you have been diagnosed with TMD.

Firstly, depending on the severity, we may be able to customise a mouthpiece for you to wear at night to prevent grinding. Secondly, if you have orthodontic issues, correcting them with a brace may ease some of the associated pain of TMD, as there will be less grinding of the jaws. And finally, if your TMD is due to an accident, surgery can be beneficial.

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