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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

tmjTMJ is condition which affects the muscles and joints in the lower jaw. Often referred to as ‘myofacial pain disorder’ TMJ is surprisingly common with up to 30% of adults in the UK suffering from it in one way or another.

When our teeth sit correctly our bite is healthy. This means that there is minimal wear on our teeth and we are able to eat comfortably with no pain in the joints or muscles of the jaw.

Unfortunately, problems with bite can be easily caused by a number of things including broken, worn or loose teeth and recent dental work. A common cause of TMJ is grinding of the teeth at night as a result of stress.

With a normal bite the chewing surfaces of our teeth should only wear slightly during a lifetime (around 11microns every 100 years). However, excess force caused by bruxism (grinding) or missing and loose teeth can increase this wear significantly.

The signs of TMJ

While not considered a serious medical condition, for many patients the effects of TMJ can be debilitating, causing problems with eating, talking and general discomfort on a daily basis. While some patients will notice an improvement within just a few days or weeks for others it can last for many months.

Any discomfort usually stays around the jaw area although can transfer over time to other parts of the body- resulting in headaches or neck and back pain.

Are you concerned that you are suffering with temporomandibular joint disorder? If you have noticed any of the symptoms listed below then there is a chance you might be.

Treatment of TMJ

At Inspired Dentistry we are one of only a few practices who can provide specialist care and advice to help.

We are able to supply you with a specially made deprogrammer which will allow us to analyze your bite and investigate the ways in which it could be improved.

This small, discreet plastic device will need to be worn for around one week. It works by preventing your back (or posterior) teeth from touching- therefore allowing the muscles to relax. This gives your jaw some time to re-seat itself helping to reduce any wear on the teeth and joints. Often the wearer will notice an instant improvement.

Following use of the deprogrammer we are able to fully realign the old bite or build you a custom made device. Generally this will happen in one visit and will require no anaesthetic. The process is quick, easy and very precise.

In addition we could:

Won’t my TMJ just get better with time?

While some patients find their symptoms disappear after just a few days, others can suffer for many months and even years. Left untreated, TMJ can start to affect your daily life in a number of ways- often causing problems with sleep- so it’s important to visit us if you do have any worries at all.

If we are able to re-seat your bite with a deprogrammer this will result in:

Tips to help with TMJ at home

The majority of patients who are suffering with TMJ do benefit from a deprogrammer.

There are a number of ways in which you can try to improve the symptoms of (or lesson your chances of developing) TMJ at home.

If you are worried you might be suffering from TMJ or have noticed other symptoms which are causing concern then call us on 02380 328 888.

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