Concerned about jaw pain or clicking?
Persistent jaw pain with clicking or popping noises can be a sign of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ disorder). Over 60% of Australians experience some of these symptoms with 5-12% requiring professional treatment. TMJ disorder is most commonly found in adults but can affect people of all ages.
TMJ disorder is a common dental issue but it can be difficult to find a dental professional who specialises in the area. The good news is we can help! At Dental on York we’re lucky enough to have Dr Andrew Lee on our team. Dr Lee has a specialised interest in TMJ disorder with many years experience in treating and managing it. He has spent hundreds of hours educating others in the field of TMJ disorder. You can count on Dr Lee to provide top quality treatment for your TMJ disorder.
What is TMJ disorder
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of your jaw. They connect your lower and upper skull, allowing you to open and close your mouth. TMJs are complex structures made of muscle and bone. Sometimes, they become displaced causing aches, pains, irregular movements and funny noises. This is known as TMJ disorder.
You have probably felt your jaw make funny clicking noises every so often. This is a sign of TMJ disorder, however, it doesn’t require treatment until it is negatively impacting your life. If you begin to feel consistent jaw pain or have trouble opening and closing your mouth, you should speak to a dentist at our Sydney CBD dental practice. .
What causes TMJ disorder
There is not one single cause of TMJ disorder, sometimes it’s caused by multiple factors other times the exact cause is unidentifiable. In most cases though, we see that the joints have become misaligned and are no longer functioning normally. Some common causes of the condition are:
- Bruxism ( teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching)
- Uneven bite
- Trauma to the jaw
- Degenerative joint conditions
- Other diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia)
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder
There are a range of different signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorder. Sometimes these signs and symptoms can indicate other dental problems. It’s best to speak to a dental professional if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Jaw clicking and popping
- Tight feeling in jaw
- Jaw locking
- Jaw discomfort
- Jaw and facial pain
- Headaches or pain around the ears
- Altered bite
How Dental on York can help
If you’re looking for an expert in TMJ disorder who genuinely cares about your treatment results, look no further than Dr Andrew Lee at Dental on York.
Dr Lee is a long-standing member of the American Academy of CranioFacial Pain. He set up an Australian chapter of the Academy in 2010, was president from 2015 – 2017 and remains on the organising committee to date. Dr Lee has hundreds of hours of continuing education in the fields of chronic pain, sleep, occlusion and orthodontics.
Dr Lee has built a reputation in Sydney for his knowledge of TMJ disorder. He has successfully treated many patients. Dr Lee isn’t only highly qualified and experienced he also provides an exceptional patient experience. He always takes the time to get to know you and listen to your concerns.
TMJ may be due to other health issues or lifestyle aspects, so it’s important that he is familiar with your medical and social history. Sometimes, digital scans are needed for Dr Lee to fully assess your jaw and joints for TMJ disorder.
This condition can resolve itself with time although some cases require long-term treatment. Dr Lee is able to provide you with options for pain relief either way, you’re safe in the very reliable hands of Dr Lee.
TMJ disorder treatment options
Should you need treatment, we can provide you with a personalised treatment plan. Below are some of the treatment options we recommend to our patients suffering from TMJ disorder:
Custom Bite Splint
A custom bite splint may be recommended if the cause of your TMJ disorder is believed to be teeth clenching or grinding. This appliance is custom-made and offers superior comfort. It provides a barrier between your teeth, protecting them from grinding together during your sleep.
It’s important to note that wearing a custom bite splint prevents the symptoms of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. But it doesn’t address the cause. A common cause of teeth grinding and jaw clenching is stress. So, reducing stress in your life is key.
Teeth & Jaw Alignment Correction
Should an uneven bite be the cause of your condition, Dr Lee may recommend treatment options that focus on the way in which your teeth align. This may involve reducing the size of fillings or restoring the size of worn and damaged teeth with a crown. In some cases, Dr Lee may recommend that you have orthodontic treatment to correct an overbite or underbite and realign your jaw.
Whilst there is no medication known to cure TMJ disorder, there are options for managing your symptoms. Depending on the circumstances and symptoms surrounding your case Dr Lee may prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants.
It’s important that Dr Lee is aware of any other medications you take or allergies you suffer from. This helps him recommend the safest and most effective medication for you.
If yourTMJ disorder is arthritic in nature, Dr Lee may refer you to someone who specialises in this field.
For severe or ongoing cases of TMJ disorder, Dr Lee may recommend surgery. Surgery is often the last resort in cases where other treatment options have proven ineffective. Most of our patients recover from this condition without needing surgery.
There are different types of surgical procedures for the correction of TMJ disorder. Some are minimally invasive meaning you can be treated as an outpatient and go home after your procedure. TMJ disorder surgeries that are more complicated may need an overnight stay in hospital.
Dr Lee always discusses the treatment options available to you, ensuring that you can decide how to proceed with confidence.
FAQs about TMJ disorder
For your convenience we have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions we get from patients regarding TMJ disorder. If you’d like to know more then give us a call. We’re always happy to answer questions about our services over the phone.
When should I seek professional help?
If your symptoms are negatively impacting your life then you should seek a professional opinion. These impacts may include persistent pain, jaw locking and headaches. Call Dental on York, we’re happy to schedule you in for a consultation with Dr Lee.
Why does it cause pain in other areas?
TMJ disorder can cause pain in other areas besides your face and jaw. This includes your neck, shoulders and back. This is known as referred pain; basically the pain is radiating down to other parts of your body.
Can jaw exercises treat the disorder?
Yes, there are different exercises and massaging techniques that can improve your symptoms. These exercises and massages aim to relax your jaw and reduce any tension. Many patients are able to manage their condition in this natural way.
Are you experiencing pain associated with your jaw? Make an appointment with our TMJ expert, Dr Lee today.