Kerrisdale Dental Clinic – Treatment for TMJ in Kerrisdale, Vancouver

TMJ refers to  temporomandibular joint disorder, an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (the joint that connects the jaw to the skull). The temporomandibular joint involves many elements: muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue, and the teeth. TMJ can affect all of these elements, causing a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms of TMJ disorder most commonly include pain in the jaw joints, especially when eating, opening and closing the mouth and speaking. Other symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue
  • Jaw ‘clicking’ when opening or closing the mouth

Symptoms can come and go or be present for most of the time. Causes of TMJ pain include:

  • Bruxism (grinding the teeth either at night or during the day)
  • Tight, tense jaw muscles
  • Misalignment of the teeth or jaw
  • Stress
  • Dental trauma

There are many websites and places claiming to have a cure for TMJ disorder. There is a lot of conflicting and misinformation regarding TMJ disorder out there, which can be confusing and daunting for patients who are suffering with the pain and who simply want solutions.

The truth is that most cases of TMJ are multifactorial. The first step in treatment is thorough examination of the patient’s jaw and also their history to determine what’s causing TMJ. Treatment may include one or more different approaches depending on the cause:

  • Nightguard. If nighttime clenching and grinding is a suspected cause of TMJ pain, a nightguard may be prescribed to help provide a cushion between the teeth to alleviate the pressure. Nightguards can sometimes be worn during the day as well, if the patient finds that they tend to clench their jaws while awake as well.
  • Biofeedback. Bruxism may also be treated with nighttime biofeedback using a headband that detects clenching and grinding and sounds an alarm that prompts the patient to stop clenching or grinding, without waking up.
  • Orthodontics. If misalignment is causing the pain, orthodontic treatments such as braces or Invisalign may help correct the bite.
  • Stress management techniques. Stress can exacerbate things like bruxism and clenching of the jaw, which can in turn worsen the pain. This is why patients suffering from TMJ disorder are often advised to manage their stress, either through therapy, counselling, or any other means that they would be comfortable with.
  • Limiting consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. We also advise limiting caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, all of which can increase pain, sensitivity and tensing of the jaw and surrounding muscles.

If you are suffering from TMJ pain, contact us today for a consultation to determine possible causes of your pain. We can then work with you to custom create a treatment plan to help alleviate your specific symptoms.