Atwell Smiles Dental, Your Destination for Effective
Understanding Your TMJ Disorder
and Our Treatment Approach
Dealing with TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder) can be a constant challenge. This condition can cause persistent jaw discomfort, difficulty chewing and even affect speech. If not addressed, these symptoms can significantly disrupt daily activities, leading to stress and may compromise quality of life.
Atwell Smiles Dental offers comprehensive TMJ dental treatment to address these challenges. The dentists in our clinic take pride in having years of experience in managing this condition. If you’re struggling with TMJ-related discomfort, we invite you to consult with our team for a personalised treatment plan.
Why Choose Us for Your Family's Dental Needs
Explore the Benefits of A Holistic Approach to TMJ Treatment
Alleviating Symptoms to Improve
Your Quality of Life
Our TMJ treatments are designed to address and alleviate the common symptoms associated with this condition. Reducing jaw pain and discomfort allows our patients to resume their daily activities, such as eating and speaking, with ease. It also minimises the risk of tooth damage and deterioration of jaw muscles and bones.
This significant relief is essential to enhancing the quality of daily life. You no longer have to endure TMJ-related symptoms, including excruciating jaw pain, tooth grinding, and earaches.
At Atwell Smiles Dental, our TMJ treatments aim to restore comfort and preserve overall dental health. By effectively managing these symptoms, we help patients regain confidence and the freedom to enjoy life without the constraints of TMJ-related issues.
TMJ Treatment Eligibility: Finding the Right Candidate
Is TMJ Treatment Suitable for Your Specific Symptoms?
TMJ disorders present a range of symptoms, from jaw pain to difficulty chewing, each affecting individuals differently. At Atwell Smiles Dental, we understand that these symptoms are crucial in determining the right TMJ therapy. Our approach begins with thoroughly examining each symptom, considering its intensity and impact on daily life.
We develop treatment plans based on the information we gather to fit your needs. Whether managing pain, improving jaw movement, or addressing related discomforts, we focus on providing patient relief and improved function. This personalised approach is important to achieve optimal treatment outcomes.
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Meet Our Dental Team - Your Partners to Healthy Teeth
Dr. Swathi Dasari
Dr. Swathi Dasari holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with a special interest in Cosmetic Veneers, Implants, and Aligners. Her passion lies in providing comprehensive, tailored dental care. Renowned for her gentle approach, Dr. Swathi is dedicated to providing a positive, comfortable experience for each patient at our clinic.
Dr. Deepika Chowlam
Dr. Deepika Chowlam specialises in full-mouth rehabilitation and cosmetic treatments. With a broad experience in all aspects of dentistry, she is adept at caring for children and nervous patients, offering sedation options. Dr. Chowlam is committed to continuous learning, actively participating in global education courses and dental study clubs. Outside work, she loves travelling and family time.
Dr. Malavika Manikanddan
Dr. Malavika graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in India. Known for her energetic and friendly attitude towards patients, she helps everyone feel at ease when visiting the dental clinic. Dr. Malavika actively listens to her patients' concerns. She also explains the necessary information to help you make informed choices about dental treatments.
Dr. Tashmita Dhiman
Dr. Tashmita Dhiman holds a Bachelor's degree in Dental Sciences from Manipal College of Dental Sciences and has earned ADC accreditation from Melbourne. She is proficient in endodontics and cosmetic dentistry, helping patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. Dr. Tashmita puts emphasis on the importance of building trusting patient relationships, allowing her to deliver compassionate care.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint connecting your jaw to the skull. This joint on each side of the head enables the necessary movements required for speaking, chewing and facial expressions.
TMJ disorder, or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD), is a condition affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. While there is still no widely accepted standard diagnostic test available, the process commonly involves:
- Assessment of medical and dental history:
Your dentist will consider your medical and oral health history, including previous jaw injuries, chronic tooth grinding, and symptoms like pain, headaches, and ear problems. This allows them to rule out other dental conditions.
- Observation of jaw movement.
Your dentist observes your range of motion when you open and close your mouth. They look for any irregularities in the movement, such as deviations in the jaw path, limited ability to open or close your mouth fully, or any asymmetry between the two sides of your jaw.
- Physical examination.
This includes palpating (pressing) around your jaw, temples, and neck to identify areas of tenderness, swelling, or discomfort while you open and close your mouth. When the jaw moves, your dentist listens for sounds like clicking, popping, or grating. They will also check the patient’s bite and facial muscle function for abnormalities, as these can indicate temporomandibular disorders.
- Imaging tests.
There are different types of x-ray views that can be used in diagnosing TMJ disorder. These imaging tests allow for close examination of your jaw joints and surrounding structures.
Diagnosing temporomandibular disorders is a comprehensive process involving a combination of clinical examination, patient history, and advanced imaging techniques. This thorough approach helps them make an accurate diagnosis and forms the basis for an effective treatment plan.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can manifest through a range of symptoms, which may vary from person to person. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for the early detection and management of the condition. Here are the common symptoms associated with TMD:
- Frequent jaw discomfort or soreness.
This is often most noticeable in the morning or late afternoon. It can be a dull, aching pain in the jaw joint and nearby areas, including the ears.
Frequent headaches, specifically in the temple area, can be a sign of TMD. They are often mistaken for tension headaches.
- Referred pain.
In some cases, temporomandibular disorder may cause referred pain. This means you may feel discomfort and stiffness or a limited range of motion in the nearby areas, including the face, shoulder, neck, and back.
- Ringing in the ears.
TMJ disorder can cause tense jaw muscles, which can strain the nerves related to the ear, resulting in the perception of ringing sounds.
- Clicking or popping of the jaw.
This occurs when the mouth opens or closes and is one of the hallmark signs of TMD.
- Locking of the jaw.
Lockjaw is one of the most severe symptoms associated with TMJ issues. It is a condition characterised by muscle spasms or improper movement in the jaw joint, leading to difficulty or inability to fully open or close the mouth. This condition usually occurs in more advanced cases of TMD.
- Limited range of motion of the mouth.
Restricted range of movement or tightness in the jaw when speaking, yawning, or eating.
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth (bruxism).
This habit can exacerbate temporomandibular disorder symptoms and may occur unconsciously, especially during sleep.
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers.
This less common symptom can be associated with TMD due to the interconnection of nerves.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) can significantly impact your overall oral health in various ways. It’s not just about jaw discomfort; the effects can extend to several aspects of dental health. Here’s how TMD can influence oral health:
- Tooth wear and damage.
Many individuals with TMD tend to clench their jaw and grind their teeth, particularly during sleep. This habit, known as bruxism, can wear down tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
- Changes in dental occlusion.
Temporomandibular joint disorder may alter your bite or dental occlusion, impacting oral health. This change can affect teeth alignment and jaw function, leading to potential dental issues.
- Sensitivity of the teeth.
TMJ disorder may lead to tooth sensitivity, as jaw misalignment and excessive grinding put excessive force on your teeth, resulting in increased discomfort and sensitivity.
- Impact on oral hygiene.
Routines like brushing and flossing can become challenging for those with TMD. The discomfort and pain associated with opening the mouth wide or stretching the jaw can make these essential oral hygiene habits difficult, potentially leading to inadequate oral hygiene and increased risk of dental problems.
- Tooth wear and damage.
As mentioned, if you grind or clench your teeth due to TMD, you may be susceptible to wearing down tooth enamel. This increases the risk of tooth decay, sensitivity, and tooth loss due to fracture.
Many healthcare professionals believe that trauma generally plays a role in the development of TMJ dysfunction. However, recent research says that the specific cause of this disorder is not yet clear but may be linked to or triggered by certain conditions.
Still, understanding the potential underlying cause of this disorder can help manage them appropriately. Here’s a detailed explanation of the causes of temporomandibular disorders:
- Jaw injury.
Trauma to the jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint can lead to temporomandibular disorders. This may include heavy blows, accidents, or even dental procedures that strain the jaw.
- Joint erosion.
The joint may deteriorate over time due to normal wear and tear or tooth loss, which can alter its alignment and function and lead to TMJ disorders.
- Habitual grinding or clenching of teeth.
This habit puts much pressure on the TMJ and can lead to pain and dysfunction. Stress often exacerbates this condition, leading to more severe symptoms.
- Neck injury:
The nerves in your neck and jaw are interconnected. An injury in the neck can irritate these nerves, leading to pain or discomfort in the jaw, which contributes to the development of TMJ disorder.
- Rheumatic disease.
Arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to temporomandibular disorders as a result of inflammation in the temporomandibular joint. This inflammation leads to cartilage degeneration, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced jaw mobility, which are commonly associated with TMJ symptoms.
While the above are primary causes, there are also several factors that might contribute to the development of TMJ disorders:
- Hormonal changes.
Female hormones, particularly estrogen, may play a role in the development of TMJ disorders, which could explain why these conditions are more common in women.
- Poor posture.
Poor neck and upper back posture can lead to muscle strain and changes in jaw function, contributing to temporomandibular disorders.
- Prolonged stress.
Chronic stress can lead to habits like teeth clenching and grinding, which in turn can cause TMJ disorders.
- Joint hypermobility.
People with hypermobile joints may be more prone to TMJ disorders due to the increased strain on their joints.
- Structural jaw issues.
Congenital abnormalities in the jaw structure can predispose individuals to TMJ disorders.
It’s important to note that these factors can interact in complex ways, and not everyone with these circumstances will develop TMJ disorders. However, being aware of these risk factors can help identify and get TMJ dental treatment early. Regular dental check-ups and addressing the above risk factors that may be present are crucial in preventing or mitigating the severity of TMJ disorders.
Consult with a skilled TMJ dentist at Atwell Smiles Dental today. Our team will thoroughly evaluate your condition and tailor a treatment plan just for you.
The temporomandibular joint disorder can disrupt the normal mechanics of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). When the joint is not functioning properly, it can potentially change your bite alignment. This happens because the muscles and ligaments around the jaw may become tense or fatigued, causing the jaw to be misaligned and close irregularly.
TMJ disorders can cause the cushioning disc in the TMJ to become displaced. This displacement can cause the jaw to close unevenly or shift to one side, leading to misaligned upper and lower teeth.
Addressing TMJ disorders is important to alleviate pain and discomfort and prevent long-term changes in bite and teeth alignment. Don’t hesitate to contact Atwell Smiles Dental to schedule a dental consultation.
If you’re experiencing TMJ disorder, it’s important to be aware that this condition can lead to teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism.
When your temporomandibular joint (the joint connecting your upper and lower jaw) doesn’t function properly, it can cause you to grind or clench your teeth, especially during sleep. This involuntary action is often a response to the jaw’s misalignment or discomfort caused by TMJ dysfunction.
This constant grinding or clenching can put additional stress on your jaw joints and muscles, potentially aggravating your TMJ symptoms. If you notice that you’re grinding or clenching your teeth, it’s crucial that you address this habit.
Several factors influence the frequency of your visits to Atwell Smiles Dental for TMJ treatment. These include the severity of your condition, the type of treatment you’re receiving, and your response to the therapy. Each case is unique, and treatment duration can vary, generally ranging from a few weeks to several months.
Your dentist will provide a schedule tailored to your specific situation so you can better understand how often you’ll need to visit. We encourage you to contact us and arrange a consultation to gain further insights into your treatment plan and appointment scheduling.
Living with TMJ disorder can be challenging, but making certain lifestyle adjustments can help alleviate symptoms. Here are some changes you can make when undergoing TMJ therapy:
- Manage your stress.
Try stress-relief activities such as meditation, therapy, yoga, and regular exercise, which can help reduce bruxism and related TMJ pain. These help alleviate stress, which exacerbates TMJ disorder symptoms.
- Avoid nail biting.
Break any poor oral habits, including nail biting, chewing on pencils, ice, or bottle caps. Find ways to stop them, like trimming your nails short, using proper tools to open packages, and chewing gum as an alternative to chewing hard objects. Remember, these habits can potentially worsen TMJ symptoms and damage your teeth.
- Adjust your sleeping position.
Sleeping on your stomach can put extra pressure on your jaw, exacerbating TMJ symptoms. If you experience jaw pain or soreness in the morning, try sleeping on your back to minimise jaw tension.
- Eat softer foods.
Consuming crunchy, tough, or hard foods can add pressure to your jaw. Opt for softer foods like soups, mashed potatoes, boiled vegetables, and stews to relieve stress on your jaw muscles. Additionally, cutting your food into smaller pieces can prevent you from opening your mouth too wide, which might lock your jaw.
Remember, these lifestyle changes are part of a comprehensive approach to managing TMJ symptoms. If at-home therapies do not sufficiently relieve your discomfort, it may be time to seek professional help. At Atwell Smiles Dental, a qualified dentist can assess your symptoms and recommend a suitable dental treatment plan, including the use of custom mouthguards.
The timeline for improvement after beginning treatment for TMJ disorder (TMD) is unique to every patient. It varies significantly, depending on several factors unique to you. It’s important to understand that TMJ symptoms and their severity differ from person to person, as does the response to treatment.
- Short-term relief.
Many patients begin to notice an alleviation of symptoms within the first three weeks of treatment, particularly in cases of less severe TMJ disorders.
- Longer-term cases.
For more chronic conditions like arthritis, improvement can take several months to years. The complexity and severity of the underlying issue significantly influence the treatment duration.
In summary, while some patients may experience relatively quick relief, others with more intensive TMJ dysfunction might require a longer treatment period. Regular check-ups with your dentist are essential during these crucial times for optimal outcomes.
TMJ dysfunction may improve on its own, but this is not always the case. The likelihood of this condition improving without intervention depends on many factors, such as the cause and severity.
In some instances, TMJ disorders may be temporary and improve in a week or two. This can happen when a temporary stressor that usually triggers the disorder resolves. However, in more severe cases, TMJ disorders can persist for several months or even years. This could happen if they are caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis or long-term habits like teeth grinding.
It’s important to note that while some TMJ disorders may improve without specific treatment, seeking professional advice is advisable, particularly if the symptoms are persistent.
In Australia, the health fund cover for TMJ disorder treatments under dental or health plans can vary. It’s important to understand that not all treatments and services for TMJ disorders are covered by health funds.
Health fund providers usually list services considered medically necessary for TMJ therapy in their medical policies. These include non-surgical procedures like reversible intra-oral appliances, physical therapy, pharmacological management, relaxation therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, acupuncture, and trigger point injections. Surgical procedures may also be listed as necessary in some cases.
As each medical fund policy can differ, it’s important to check your specific plan to understand if TMJ treatment in Atwell is covered. Remember, the information provided here is general and may not apply to all health fund plans or situations in Australia.
You may contact us at Atwell Smiles Dental, and one of our friendly staff members will assist you regarding this concern.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers about TMJ disorder, its symptoms and our treatment strategies. We make use of comfortable and effective treatments to improve your oral health and overall well-being.
We’re here to guide you through understanding this condition and the various treatment options available. Our aim is to assist you in making informed choices about your dental care.