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Understanding TMJ dysfunction

The term “dental occlusion” refers to the way your two rows of teeth come together when you bite down. A correctly aligned bite is beneficial not just for the ability to chew your food, but can also prevent temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, which occurs when a jaw is out of alignment and can lead to symptoms like joint pain, muscle spasms, headaches and receding gums. The TMJ is the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull; it is responsible for your ability to open and close your mouth and chew on either side. When it becomes misaligned, the surrounding bones, muscles, and nerves can also become impacted. This includes the muscles of the face, which can spasm or become strained as they work extra hard to compensate for the unstable bite.

If you’re experiencing facial or joint pain problems, make an appointment with the team at My Smile Dental. By working with you to identify and correct the source of the problem, we hope to stabilise and realign your bite so that the teeth, muscles, and joints all work together without any further stress to your jaw.

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Treating TMJ dysfunction relates to joint pain and other conditions

There are numerous ways your dentist might suggest treating your joint pain. They can include:

  • Tooth equilibration – Your dentist will make minor adjustments to your teeth so they become able to meet evenly and realign your jaw in the process.
  • Teeth replacement – To avoid dysfunction related conditions, the TMJ needs equal support from each side of the mouth, particularly when in a chewing motion. Your dentist might recommend installing bridgework or a partial denture in order to preserve the evenness that comes from a mouth of fully present teeth.
  • Medication – This is only really a temporary measure and should only be considered a means of relief while you wait for a replacement or equilibration.
  • Diet and exercise – Anything that minimises the amount of stress you place on a joint will help. This can include a diet of soft foods to specific physiotherapy exercises.
  • Relaxation – Some relaxation therapies can help patients control their tension.
  • Botulin injections are also used and are the newest form of treatment for painful jaws or muscles.

Don’t live your life suffering through jaw related joint pain. Make an appointment with My Smile Dental today – call us on (03) 9390 9333 or contact us online.

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