TMD Treatment

Do you suffer from chronic headaches or facial pain? These can be the result of dental stress and a condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD.

Image of a man with jaw pain

TMD can result in severe headache and facial pain and also result in impairment of the normal functioning of the jaw.

What are the symptoms of Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder or TMD ?

Here are some of the symptoms of TMD:

  • Radiating pain in the jaw, face, neck or shoulders
  • Pain or tenderness around the ear when chewing, speaking or opening your mouth wide
  • Stiff jaw muscles, or jaws that get stuck or locked
  • Painful clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth
  • Difficulty or discomfort when chewing due to a change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together
  • A tired feeling in the face

It is important to note that TMD can also cause earaches, hearing problems, toothaches and even depression in some cases. Experts believe that no two TMD sufferers experience the same symptoms and pain, which makes correct diagnosis more challenging.

What are the causes of TMD?

The functioning of the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), combines an up-and-down hinge action with side-to-side sliding motions. The TMJ can get damaged due to undue strain or abnormal wear & tear. This can result in excessive stretching of the jaw ligaments, displacement of the articular disc, or the overworking of jaw muscles.

Some of the most common causes of TMD include:

  • A bad bite (Poor Occlusion) caused when your teeth don't fit together or you have an uneven 'bite'
  • Abnormal head and neck posture (which may itself be the result of some accident or injury)
  • Poor nutrition and a lack of dental hygiene, or damage to the cartilage due to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Grinding, gnashing or clenching of teeth (Bruxism)
  • External trauma such as a blow to the head, a bad fall or the impact sustained in a motor vehicle accident
  • Bad chewing habits such as putting too much food into your mouth while eating, crunching hard foods, crushing ice, or eating foods that need excessive chewing.
How can we treat Temporomandibular Joint Disease (TMD)?

The treatment of TMD depends mostly on the factors that have contributed to the condition. Based on the severity of the case, treatment can range from conservative dental care to complex surgery. A thorough diagnosis is performed before the commencement of any treatment. This may require the use of specialised diagnostic equipment that can help assess the positioning of your lower jaw and teeth, including the functioning of the Temporomandibular Joint. X-rays, MRIs or CT scans and a plaster model of your teeth may also be required.

Once we have confirmed the diagnosis of TMD, we will develop a treatment plan for you. As an example we could treat the condition with conservative and reversible treatments that don't involve making permanent changes to your teeth, jaw or joints through surgery.

The various treatments for TMD could include the following:

The use of Bite Splints:

A bite splint or neuromuscular orthodontic is a basic non-surgical intervention used for treating TMD.

Dental treatment:

If the cause of TMD is an ill fitting denture, missing teeth or some other dental problem, then we would consider restorative dental treatments such as crowns, bridges or implants.

Physical therapy:

Physical therapy can help relax the muscles, improve your posture and relieve pain.

Stress management & behaviour modification:

Psychological or emotional conflicts can be integral to TMD. Lifestyle counseling, psychotherapeutic interventions, behaviour modification programs as well as relaxation and stress-reduction therapies, can all play an important role in treating TMD.


Certain medications can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation; however, long-term use of sedative-type drugs can result in a number of undesirable side effects.

Certain medications can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation; however, long-term use of sedative-type drugs can result in a number of undesirable side effects.

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