Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction is a term used to include pain and movement problems of the jaw joints. The temporomandibular joint has similar anatomical structures to all the other joints in the body including muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, articular discs and nerve. Problems usually include pain or soreness around the jaw or temples, abnormal movement patterns, and joint noises like clicking, clunking, or popping. TMD can also be related to neck problems, poor posture and headaches. Physiotherapy can help to improve joint motion and reduce pain and inflammation. Treatments may include soft tissue release, acupuncture, dry needling, home exercises, patient education, postural correction, joint mobilizations, laser and ultrasound. It is strongly recommended that you have an initial visit to your dentist as bite issues and jaw clenching or grinding are commonly related to TMD. A night guard or occlusal splint can be very helpful in managing TMD and can be a very effective first step. Managing TMD often requires a multidisciplinary approach involving dentists, orthodontists, physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists and other health care professionals.