One thing we see a fair amount of at Smilemakers, your dentist in Southampton, is people suffering from chronic pain in the jaw, face, head, neck or shoulders, often caused by TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. This joint is the one that connects your jaw to your skull. It’s unlike another joint in the body, and it’s pretty complex as joints go. For it to work properly, there has to be good co-ordination with your teeth, the muscles of your face, head and neck. If any of these muscles are not working so well, it can throw the whole system out of balance and that’s when you can end up with TMJ disorder.
About 30% of UK adults have some kind of problems with their TM joint at some point in their lives. Most of us will find it gets better without any treatment, but still quite a few people experience long-term jaw problems and pain. If you are suffering with this, come along to Smilemakers, and your dentist in Southampton will examine your jaw joints carefully and suggest a plan to treat your symptoms.
What causes it?
On the whole, TMJ disorder is the result of several factors combined. There could be jaw problems, and a bone disease, such as osteoarthritis. Many people also suffer with it as a result of tooth grinding and tension in the head or neck muscles. Stress could be behind this and should also be considered when trying to deal with TMJ disorder. Sometimes, stress is the cause, sometimes it is a side-effect. TMJ disorder can have other causes altogether. If your dentures don’t fit well, they might be the causes. Or if you bite your nails a lot or chew your pens and pencils. Poorly aligned teeth can also cause issues.
How your dentist in Southampton can help
At Smilemakers, we will try to establish the cause of your TMJ disorder and will use minimally-invasive techniques to help you self-manage the condition whenever possible. We may suggest getting a night guard made of clear plastic. You put this over one arch of your teeth to protect against grinding. We also recommend seeing an osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist to help alleviate your symptoms.