Frequently Asked Questions about TMJ Disorder

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints which allow us to talk, chew and yawn. These flexible joints connect the mandibular (lower jaw bone), to the temporal bone on the side of the skull, in front of and just below the ear.

What is TMD?

TMD can mean either Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. They are interchangeable terms given to a number of symptoms which occur when the jaw joints and the associated muscles are disrupted. It can also be known as TMJ syndrome, TMJ Dysfunction, or TMJ Disorder.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

Symptoms can include; pain in the joint area or nearby, a reduction in the movement of the jaw, clicks or noises when yawning or chewing, ear symptoms such as noise in the ear, dizziness or sensitivity to sound, chronic headaches and sleep disorders.

What causes TMD?

Whilst the exact cause of TMD is not known, muscle tightness and dysfunction of the TMJ may be caused by; misalignment of, or trauma to the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, also known as bruxing or bruxism, stress, poor posture and arthritis or other inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions.

Why does teeth grinding or bruxing cause TMD?

Teeth grinding, or bruxing, places pressure on the muscles, tissues and supporting structures of the jaw, causing pain and joint dysfunction.

How is TMD diagnosed?

Whilst identifying TMD can be difficult, a conclusive diagnosis is made through comprehensive review of a patient's medical history, along with physical examination and medical imaging if required.

How is TMD treated?

Treatments can include; medication, appliance therapy (splints & mouthguards), occlusal equilibration (reshaping the bite), laser therapy, Myotherapy and orthodontia or Maxillofacial Surgery

Will I need surgery for my TMD?

Surgical treatment is considered only after all other conservative treatment options have been exhausted.