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If you notice popping, clicking, tenderness or pain in the jaw joints or ear when you chew, talk, yawn or simply open and close your mouth, then you may have symptoms of TMJ (tempero-mandibular joint disorder).

TMJ disorder is usually caused by a disharmony with your jaw muscles or bite not being balanced or relaxed. Often there is heavy grinding or clenching of the teeth causing overuse of the Jaw muscles. The grinding or clenching; is usually worse at night and the disorder can result in significant pain.

At AlTabeeb Dental we thoroughly examine all the possible causes of your TMJ disorder, provide you with detailed information about the condition and ensure that we provide you with appropriate measures to help treat your problem.

Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ is often associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Jaw Sounds (popping, grinding or grating sounds)
  • Chewing difficulties or discomfort
  • Difficulties opening or closing the mouth
  • Headaches, migraine or neck aches
  • Jaw or facial muscle pain
  • Locked jaw or stiffness
  • Ear problems (aches without infection, ringing (tinnitus) or clogged ears)
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Tooth or gum sensitivity
  • Dizziness

Causes of TMJ

There are several conditions that may cause TMJ disorders, the most common being listed below: (click for more information)

Teeth grinding or clenching

Also called bruxism. This can cause wear or damage to the jaw joint, teeth or any fillings/restorations. (e.g crowns, veneers etc). Studies indicate over 30% of the population has bruxism and 1 in 3 people damage their teeth during sleep, yet most are unaware that this is occurring. Our Al Tabeeb Dental dentists can accurately detect telltale signs of tooth wear. You may also awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.

Crooked teeth

This may cause bite imbalances. You may have difficulty finding a comfortable bite or notice that the teeth have moved and the bite has changed. Fortunately we can often adjust your bite with a variety of methods such as orthodontics (Invisalign or braces) or a method known as bite equilibration.

Previous dental treatment

Such as old fillings or defective crowns can cause bite imbalances. We can carefully determine if adjustment or replacement of any unbalanced dental restorations is required.

Trauma

Previous accidents causing damage or fractures to the jaw or surrounding bones can lead to TMJ disorders.

Stress

This often leads to release of nervous energy by either subconsciously or consciously clenching or grinding teeth together. Often this can be controlled with a bite splint the you wear while you sleep. We will carefully assess if this is appropriate for your situation.

Chewing Habits

Such as excessive gum chewing, fingernail biting or frequent chewing of very hard or sticky foods may be associated with TMJ disorders.

Degenerative joint diseases

Such as osteoarthritis. This can be one of the most extreme causes of TMJ disorder. Jaw osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition that may effect your teeth, gums and jaw bone structure. We will provide you with comprehensive information and treatment options or specialist referral if necessary.

Diagnosis of TMJ

Since TMJ disorders have a wide range of symptoms and causes it requires thorough examination, investigation and diagnosis. Dental X-rays such as an OPG (orthopantomogram) or a CT scan can also help with diagnosis and treatment of your condition.

Treatment of TMJ

Treatment usually involves conservative methods such as physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, relaxation techniques, anti-inflammatory tablets, muscle relaxant medications often in conjunction with a custom-fitted bite splint.

If you clench or grind, it is usually considered very beneficial to wear a custom-fitted bite splint while you sleep. Protecting the teeth and restorations with a professionally made bite splint is often regarded as one of the most important preventive dental methods available. Potentially thousands of dollars in future dental treatment could be saved.Bite splint

Bite splint2

The ‘MiniFM’ bite splint is a small, thin mouthpiece that fits snugly over the upper teeth and is very comfortable to wear.It is made of high strength composite material and provides excellent protection of teeth during sleep, when the forces of grinding or clenching are at their greatest.

As there are many causes of TMJ disorder other treatment methods may also be considered. Examples of these are: correction of bite abnormalities with orthodontics (e.g. braces or Invisalign), bite adjustment procedures or any necessary restorative dental procedures.