TMJ and Grinding

pic26TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorders refer to signs and symptoms that patients may experience in their head and neck areas.  The symptoms can include headache, earache and pain in the face or neck.  Patients often have clicks in their jaw joints and may find that their jaw locks or catches when they open or close.  They may experience pain or discomfort on chewing.

What causes TMJ Disorders?
The causes can be multifactorial and are not always totally clear.  Contributing factors include trauma to the jaws, tooth clenching and arthritis.  Some experts say that whiplash or jawlash may be a cause but the scientific evidence is not definite.

How are TMJ problems treated?
The main aims of treatment are to control the pain/discomfort and restore movement in the jaws.  Sometimes signs/symptoms may come and go and not require any treatment.  An occlusal splint is a hard plastic appliance which is made to fit over the teeth and this is frequently used to ease the pressure on the joints and muscles.