Temporo-mandibular Joint (TMJ) / Temporo–mandibular Dysfunction (TMD) and Bite Problems

Helping you to Pain Free Function

Drs. Eric Chu & Kitty Lam TMJ dentists in Surrey offer facial pain relief where pain is associated with the TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ).

The TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your skull to your lower jaw.  There is a “disc” which acts like a shock absorber situated in between the skull and the TMJ. The muscles, ligaments bones, and discs associated with the TMJ need to be healthy to allow the jaw to move comfortably, freely, and pain free.

What causes Temporo-mandibular Dysfunction (TMD)

The cause of TMD is multifactorial.  Research shows that symptoms can arise from problems with the jaw muscles or with the parts of the joints.

Any injury to the jaw, joint, or muscles of the head and neck  (i.e. whiplash or a blow ) can cause TMD.

Other possible causes include:

  • Clenching or grinding the teeth from daily stresses.
    • Clenching puts a lot of pressure on the TMJ.
  • Dislocation of the disc between the joint and the skull.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the TMJ.
What Are the Symptoms of  Temporo-Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD)

TMD patients can experience temporary or long term severe pain and discomfort . TMD is seen most commonly in people ages 20-40.

Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Facial pain, earaches, or dizzyness (not due to other medical reasons)
  • Headaches, neckache, or earaches when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth when you’re awake or asleep
  • Limited ability to open your mouth very wide
  • Your jaws get “stuck” or “locked” in an open or closed position
  • Teeth chipping and/or worn down front or back teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite causing toothaches – where it feels like your teeth are not fitting properly together
  • Gum recession and/or sensitive roots
  • Ringing or buzzing in your ears and/or hearing problems
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding noises in the TMJ when opening or closing the mouth (with or without pain)
  • Tiredness and soreness in the face, head and neck
How Is TMD Diagnosed?

Similar symptoms of TMD can be caused by many other conditions  (Ie. a toothache, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease.) Your dentist will perform a thorough clinical TMD exam and consider the history of your symptoms to determine the cause.

The TMD Exam

The dentist will examine your TMJ and the surrounding muscles for soreness or pain; listen for clicks, pops or grinding sounds during jaw movement; look for limited movement and locking of the jaw during opening or closing of the jaw; and examine your bite or how your teeth come together. X-rays (ie. panoramic film or full face x-rays) are sometimes necessary. Other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computer tomography (CT), may also be required to view the soft and hard tissue of the TMJ. As well, blood tests to rule out bone disorders may be required.

If you have any of the above symptoms of TMD, please contact Smiles @ Fleetwood  at 604- 597-8333 for a consultation.