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Teeth Grinding Treatment at Parramatta Dental Clinic
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a condition that causes pain and limited range of motion. Fortunately, TMJ disorder can usually be managed with non-surgical therapies. The key is to pinpoint the triggers and treat symptoms at their source.
Causes of TMJ Disorder
TMD is typically due to atypical joint function. While it may seem obvious, it’s usually conditions like misaligned teeth or overactive muscles contributing to the situation.
For example, if someone suffers from bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) it will strain the joint while they’re sleeping, making them wake up with a headache. Or in another situation, crooked teeth require moving the jaw in different directions when it’s time to chew up food. Over time, the cumulative effects of the atypical movement start to cause pain.
Sleep apnoea is another condition closely linked with TMD. Since the mouth muscles clench and tighten due to a lack of oxygen, people with sleeping disorders may also have TMJ pain.
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Depending on the cause of TMD and your unique symptoms, the treatment can change on a case-by-case basis. Some of the most effective non-surgical solutions include:
• Bite splints — A bruxism splint is one that keeps your jaws slightly apart while you’re sleeping, preventing your jaw muscles from fully engaging.
• Neuromuscular dentistry — Adjusting the way your teeth bite together allows your TMJ to function in a healthier, optimal manner. This may include changes to chewing surfaces on your teeth or orthodontic treatment.
• Muscle relaxers — Injectables are useful for treating TMJ pain. When applied to the muscles around your jaw, the results can last for up to 4-6 months at a time, but differ for each patient. During a consultation we can make an assessment and provide you with a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
• Massage and physical therapy — Specific exercises and massages can release muscle tension to aid in better range of motion.
• Sleep appliance — If sleep apnoea is one of the reasons why you have TMJ disorder, we can fit you with a custom oral appliance to wear.
Surgery is usually reserved for severe, rare cases of TMJ disorder, such as joint deterioration. Since pain is usually due to abnormal or overuse, we aim to manage those factors first.