TMJ pain can occur due to unbalanced muscle activity or spasm. This can cause symptoms such as:
Headaches or neck pain. Approximately 80% of patients with a TMJ disorder complain of headache, whilst 40% complain of facial pain or neck pain. Opening and closing the jaw makes it worse.
Ear pain with no apparent ear infection.
A bite that doesn’t feel right. The teeth just don’t feel like they meet properly.
Crepitus Grinding, popping, grating sounds in the joint. This may not induce pain.
Dizziness. About 40% of TMJ patients report dizziness or loss of balance.
Fullness of the ears. Complaints of clogged or muffled ears, made more painful during aircraft takeoff or landing.
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. This is often unrelenting and can cause many patients to be depressed, especially with associated headaches.
The dentists at Lilli Pilli Dental have done considerable post graduate study in the treatment of TMJ disorders. This may involve splint therapy, neuromuscular treatment or bite readjustments or buildups. We may need the help of other professionals such as physiotherapists or chiropractors who are skilled in this area.
Unfortunately, many patients that we see have had splint therapy before and still have little relief from pain. Poorly made or incorrect splints can make the patients symptoms worse because they increase muscular activity. The lower jaw can “skate” around on the splint causing an increase in bruxing, clenching and grinding. Subsequently, muscle spasms increase and pain worsens. We find simple upper NTI splints can help 50% of our headache and migraine patients. It must, however, be made and adjusted correctly for that patient otherwise it too can cause further pain. Lower splints or orthotics that are made to the patient’s physiologic resting position are the most comfortable and reduce headaches, neck aches and migraines in most cases. The appliance stops you from moving into your old pathologic position and “teaches” your muscles and nerves to assume a new, healthy way to speak, chew and swallow. They must be adjusted correctly by a dentist who understands advanced TMJ treatment. This is an exact science, it’s not guess work.
lILLI Pilli Dental practice 487 Port Hacking Road Caringbah South NSW 2229