16th August 2020
TMJ/TMD – What Is It?
TMD and TMJ issues are very prevalent in the population and they are intrinsically connected with stress levels.
Unfortunately TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) can often be misdiagnosed and not picked up, as a variety of symptoms can occur (as you can see from the image).
For example upper back pain and shoulders/neck pain can be a sign of TMD, but if you have these areas treated e.g massage, chiropractor, medication etc, the pain can often come back because the root cause is originating from TMD.
**** So How Does TMD Cause These Issues? ****
The main culprits is when we clench our teeth together on a regular basis (stress induced and habitual) which causes the masseter muscles to be overused and this is when a variety of symptoms can occur as the pain radiates and causes knock on effects within our body – it can really put us out of sync as the body will try to over compensate which will put various muscles under pressure (causing them to ache as well).
Then we have grinding of our teeth. This action uses different muscles (Pterygoids – lateral/medial). If the Lateral Pterygoid becomes too tight from overuse, you may notice your jaw starts to click (which can be very painful and in some cases causes restricted mouth opening).
The reason why it can be difficult to diagnose is because a lot of time when patients start to notice these various pains, it is instinct to go and see your doctors for advice (regular headaches/migraine type headaches can be linked with numerous conditions).
Doctors can prescribe medication and advice on various avenues you can go down, but it will also be worth going to see your dentist and letting them know of these symptoms.
As part of our routine check ups we can see the visible signs of clenching/grinding within your mouths and when we pair them up with the symptoms, it gives us a good idea that this is the cause of your problems (so if you do suffer with regular headaches – mention it to your dentists!)
**** Treatment Options ****
We are very lucky at Bellissima Clinic as Vernon has treated many patients who suffer with TMD and has taken additional courses to become better educated on the subject. To the point you can often get a good idea if someone suffers from TMD by looking at their facial muscles and also by their gait (how they walk!).
There is no one size fits all approach to treating TMD. Everyone is different and this disease can effect everyone differently.
We can use facial aesthetics to relax the wound up masseter muscles which helps stop the hyper active parafunction at the source.
There are custom mouthguard to help reduce the pressure of grinding/clenching and to also protect your teeth.
If you suffer with any of these symptoms please do not hesitate to reach out to us and book your free consultation.
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