Do you often feel pain in your jaw or experience jaw locking or clicking when you eat?
If so, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder).
TMJ disorder is a common dental issue with varying causes. It affects approximately 5% – 12% of the Australian population. Whilst TMJ disorder is mostly identified in adults, it can affect people of all ages.
Although TMJ is a common dental issue, at our Sydney dental practice, we understand that finding a dental professional who specialises in this area can be very difficult. The good news is, we can help you.
At Dental on York, we’re lucky to have Dr Andrew Lee on our team who has a special interest in temporomandibular joint disorder. Dr Lee has many years of experience and hundreds of hours of continuing education in the fields involved in the treatment and management of TMD.
If you have reason to believe you have TMJ disorder, you can rely on us to work with you to find a suitable solution.
What the Temporomandibular Joint Is & Why We Need It
Located at the back of your lower jaw on either side are your temporomandibular joints. They connect your lower jaw to your upper jaw and skull. Your TMJs are complex structures of bone and muscle. They allow for movement through your jaw, assisting you with facial movements, specifically speaking and eating.
Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
There isn’t a single cause of this condition and sometimes the exact cause of TMJ disorder is unidentifiable. But, in most cases, we see that the joint has become misaligned and is no longer functioning as it should. For a lot of people, symptoms begin unexpectedly and without reason.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder
- Bruxism (teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching)
- Uneven bite
- Trauma to the jaw
- Degenerative joint conditions
- Diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia)
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Symptoms
As with the causes of TMJ disorder, there is also a range of symptoms that you may experience. Patients that turn to Dental on York for help with TMJ disorder are usually experiencing one or more of the symptoms below:
- Jaw clicking or popping
- Tight or locking jaw
- Jaw discomfort
- Facial pain or discomfort
- Headaches or pain around the ears
- Altered bite
Whilst these are all signs of temporomandibular joint disorder, they can also indicate additional dental issues. So, it’s a good idea to book a consultation with Dr Lee for a thorough assessment.
How Dental on York Can Help You
If you’re looking for an expert in TMJ who genuinely cares about your treatment results, look no further than Dr Andrew Lee at Dental on York.
As a long-standing member of the American Academy of CranioFacial Pain, Dr Lee set up an Australian chapter of the Academy in 2010. He was president of the Australian chapter from 2015 – 2017 and remains on the organising committee to date. With hundreds of hours of continuing education in the fields of chronic pain, sleep, occlusion and orthodontics, you’re safe in the very reliable hands of Dr Lee.
Dr Lee has built a reputation in Sydney for his knowledge in this field and has successfully treated many patients. Dr Lee isn’t only highly qualified and experienced in the field of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. He also provides an exceptional patient experience, taking the time to get to know you and listen to your concerns.
TMJ may be due to other health issues or lifestyle aspects, so it’s important that he is familiar with your medical and social history. Sometimes, digital scans are needed for Dr Lee to fully assess your jaw and joints for TMJ disorder.
Often, this condition can resolve itself with time though there are cases that are long-term and will need treatment. Dr Lee is able to provide you with options for pain relief either way.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Treatment Options
Should you need treatment, Dr Lee will provide you with a personalised treatment plan, based on your specific scenario and probable cause of your TMJ disorder. Below are some of the treatment options we recommend to our patients suffering from TMJ disorder.
Custom Bite Splint
If Dr Lee believes teeth grinding or jaw clenching to be the cause of your TMJ disorder, he may recommend a custom bite splint. This appliance is custom-made to offer superior comfort. It provides a barrier between your teeth, protecting them from grinding together during your sleep.
It’s important to note that wearing a custom bite splint prevents the symptoms of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. But it doesn’t address the cause. A common cause of teeth grinding and jaw clenching is stress. So, reducing stress in your life is key.
Teeth & Jaw Alignment Correction
Should an uneven bite be the cause of your condition, Dr Lee may recommend treatment options that focus on the way in which your teeth fit together. This may involve reducing the size of fillings or restoring the size of worn/damaged teeth with a crown, for example.
In some cases, Dr Lee may recommend that you have orthodontic treatment to correct an overbite or underbite and realign your jaw.
Whilst there is no medication known to cure TMJ disorder, there are options for managing your symptoms. Depending on the circumstances and symptoms surrounding your case of TMJ disorder, Dr Lee may prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication or muscle relaxants.
It’s important that Dr Lee is aware of any other medications you may take or allergies you may suffer from. This helps him recommend the safest and most effective medication for you.
If your temporomandibular joint disorder is arthritic in nature, Dr Lee may refer you to someone who specialises in this field.
Temporomandibular Joint Surgery
For severe or ongoing cases of temporomandibular joint disorder, Dr Lee may recommend surgery. Surgery is often the last resort in cases where other treatment options have proven ineffective. Most of our patients recover from this condition without needing surgery.
There are different types of surgical procedures for the correction of TMJ disorder. Some are minimally invasive meaning you can be treated as an outpatient and go home after your procedure. TMJ disorder surgeries that are more complicated may need an overnight stay in hospital.
Dr Lee will thoroughly discuss the treatment options available to you ensuring that you can decide how to proceed confidently.