We used to be the top provider of Cerezen temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) ear devices in Solihull before they were unfortunately pulled from the market a few years ago. Dr Elliott has always been actively interested in the treatment and management of TMD.

TMD can be a very debilitating condition to have. It can be hard to diagnose as a lot of the symptoms can be related to other conditions. A lot of the symptoms you may experience are often ones you may not assume can be treated by a dentist, and you may seek out other healthcare professionals such as: doctors, ENTs, osteopaths, chiropractors etc.

The symptoms you may experience (but not limited to) are:

  • Headpain – headaches, forehead, temples, migraines, sinus pain

  • Eyes – pain behind eyes, bloodshot, bulging eyes, sensitivity to light

  • Mouth – discomfort, limited mouth opening, clicking jaw, jaw locked open/shut

  • Teeth – clenching/grinding teeth, sore jaw/teeth, thermal sensitivity

  • Ears – hissing, ear pain, decreased hearing, tinnitus

  • Jaw – clicking popping jaw, grating sound, pain in cheek muscles

  • Neck – Stiffness, neck pain, shoulder ache and backache

  • Throat – swallowing difficulties, laryngitis, voice irregularities

Cerezen Solihull

What Causes TMD?

At Bellissima clinic we believe in treating the root cause of the problem, rather than just addressing the symptoms.

The theory being, if you can stop what is causing those symptoms, over time, they will start to alleviate. For example, if back pain is your main complaint, having a massage or chiropractor session will make it initially feel better, but it will keep coming back if the root cause is not treated.

So this begs the question, how can TMD cause symptoms such as back pain….

This area of dentistry, is one that unfortunately is not as advanced as others. There are still many unknown factors surrounding TMD, which is why there are so many misdiagnoses surrounding these symptoms.

Two of the main causes that we do know about, and (inconclusive) research shows around 15% of the population do it, is clenching and grinding our teeth. This is where Dr Elliott’s experience in the field starts to show. He estimates around 70-80% of his patients show signs of clenching/grinding, and when you dig deeper into a patients history, you can start to see symptoms they are experiencing as a result (but wouldn’t necessarily speak to a dentist about).

Now this is part of the fundamental problem. The other healthcare professionals you may be seeing, will be looking at the symptoms you go to them about. But they won’t be exploring your dental history which could be connected. As a result, this is why TMD is so often misdiagnosed and that 15% stat is likely to be much lower than it is in reality.

TMD symptoms cerezen
Teeth clenching Solihull

How Does Clenching/Grinding Cause TMD?

When we clench or grind our teeth, especially over along period of time (such as during sleep), we overuse the muscles in our face. Just like any other muscles, if they are not allowed to rest/recover, you can expect sore muscles and injuries to occur. The main difference between going to the gym and clenching/grinding, is the fact these actions can be involuntary and habitual (and you will take time off from the gym to recover).

With patients who suffer majorly with TMD, they clench/grind their teeth most nights and their masseter muscles (used to clench) and the Lateral Pterygoid muscles (which move the jaw side to side) are not given time to recover, which can cause a whole host of symptoms as listed above.

One of the most common symptoms with grinders is a popping sound as they open their mouths. This happens because the Lateral Pterygoid becomes tighter (wound up) from excessive use, and when you open your mouth it pulls the articular disk (which sits at the end of the condyle – jaw bone) down. The articular disk is a thin bit of cartilage which has a purpose of sitting between the jawbones for smooth movement. So by treating the grinding as the root cause, it will allow the Lateral Pterygoid muscle to relax, allowing for a smooth movement again when you open your mouth.

With clenching, it is the masseter muscles that you use. Also known as the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles). Just like any other muscle, if you overuse them they can become more defined. As a result, if you bite together and feel your cheek muscles, you may notice they seem rather enlarged.

Now how the symptoms effect you is the bit that can be a bit vague, and we really don’t know why some people suffer more than others (it can often be a combination of factors).

When we clench/grind, overusing the muscles can cause pain to radiate to other areas in the body. Which is why clenching can cause upper back/neck pain or headaches. In some cases, you may be a clencher/grinder and you don’t experience any other symptoms. And in other cases, you experience a wide range of symptoms which causes extreme discomfort and stops you from enjoying your life as much as you should.

Temporal Muscle TMD
Condyle tmd

Introducing Our TMD Ear Inserts

Since Cerezen was pulled from the market, we have been working closely with an audiological company to design and develop a similar device, to help our patients get the relief they deserve.

It works the same way, that Cerezen did, but with a few key differences.

  • No ear impressions required

  • Three sizes to choose from (large, medium, small)

  • To be worn at night time

When we clench or grind our teeth, our ear canals change shape (they get smaller). This is because the movement of our mouth causes the condyle (end of jawbone) to change the shape of our ear canal. This is because the ear canal sits directly above the condyle and is directly impacted on how we move our jaws.

By wearing our ear devices during sleep, they will keep your ear canal in an open position. So when you go to clench or grind, it will create a cognitive awareness that tells your brain its an uncomfortable position. The way your brain corrects this is by returning your jaw to a slightly open position (thus eliminating the root cause of your TMD). Over time by breaking this bad habit, the symptoms you were experiencing will start to alleviate.

If you would like to get your own devices or find out other methods of treating TMD please do not hesitate to contact us today and book your dental assessment.

Ear inserts TMD