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TMD - Temporomandibular Disorder

Do you have a clicking jaw, constant headaches or pain in your face, shoulders and teeth? 

TMD is a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint (TMJ) and all of the muscles that control chewing. It is unclear how many people are affected by this debilitating condition however it is clear that most people go undiagnosed.

In many cases the untreated condition can lead to many symptoms of pain around the face, head, neck, shoulders and down the back. The fact that the jaw joint is the most complex and used joint in your body means that we should be aware of any condition that may be a cause for concern.

What is TMD?

TMD means a dysfunction with the TMJ and can be split into three types:

  • Myofascial pain, which is the most common type of TMD affecting the muscles that control the movement of the jaw joint and the muscles of the head neck and shoulders.
  • Dislocated jaw joint, displaced disc or damage to the condyles
  • Degenerative joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ or osteoarthritis.

A person may have one or more of these dysfunctions at any one time.

What are the causes of TMD?

It is clear that severe injury to the jaw or temporomandibular joint can cause TMD. A knock to the head, for example, can damage the disc, disrupting the smooth motion of the jaw and causing pain or locking. Arthritis in the jaw joint may also arrise from injury. It is becoming more widely recognised within the medical community that mal-occlusion (bad bite) can cause problems with the TMJ. If the teeth do not function in a balanced way then the jaw joint will suffer as a consequence.

Although clicking or popping of the jaw joint affects a large number of the population, in most cases the condition does not require any treatment. However this can be an indicator that the balance to the system (teeth and jaw joint) is not correct. Untreated symptoms can worsen and problems within the joint can progress into more serious conditions.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with TMD such as

  • Pain in the head, neck and shoulders
  • Migraines
  • Pain in the teeth when biting
  • Sore muscles when chewing
  • Limited movement of the jaw
  • Clicking/popping in the jaw joint
  • Sudden change in the way the teeth meet

Other symptoms that could be related to TMD are earache, dizziness and ringing in the ears although this is not yet proven however, it is important to be aware of.

During a physical examination of the TMJ the muscles are palpated around the area of the jaw joint when opening and closing to determine the severity of the click and when the click occurs in the opening-closing sequence. Also to assess the muscles for any tenderness caused by the dysfunction.

The new BioPAK centre is the first centre that can accurately diagnose TMD. Using the latest in diagnostic equipment and boasting a real understanding of this condition, The Berkeley Clinic is the first step to successful treatment.

The team at The Berkeley Clinic will be happy to answer any questions you may have and arrange an appointment to have these tests done at your convenience.

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Last modified: 2017-02-17 16:11:07

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