TMD is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and is where bruxing affects the joints/muscles. This can be tied to painful muscles, or noise from the joint. Bruxism is the medical term for clenching or grinding. It is not always presented obviously but can cause pain if your temporomandibular joint and jaw muscles are not fully straight or aligned. Wear, sensitivity, cracks, loose teeth, broken teeth and painful jaw joints. These can all be signs of Occlusal Disease. In its early stages, it usually causes these symptoms which may be overlooked unless your dentist specifically suspects Occlusal Disease. It then becomes known as TMD when your joints and muscles are also affected.
We conduct an exam to explore what is causing your TMD, what the symptoms are, whether you are at risk of pain and offer a bite analysis to get all the information we need.
Treatment will commonly begin with a bite splint. This fits comfortably over your upper or lower teeth to offer a temporary perfect bite. You will get to feel what a comfortable, stable and solid bite feels like. Within a few weeks, patients with muscle tension and pain report dramatic relief of their existing pain. Occasionally, we may suggest a move or reshaping of teeth so you can experience that feeling without the need of the splint. Small adjustments or orthodontic treatment may be recommended.
Some people may find that their pain or ‘bruxing’ (clenching or grinding) continues, and additional therapy can be offered. This includes Cerezen, which reduces muscle activity and comes as an ear insert. These are available from Wickham Dental Practice. Sometimes bruxing can also be a response to stress, and so behavioural therapy or alternate therapies can also be suggested.