Tempro-Mandibular Joint (TMJ)

Tempro- Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder

This disorder encompasses a group of problems involving the Tempro-mandibular joints (TMJ) and the muscles, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels associated with them.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

May include:

  • pain in the jaw joint
  • headache
  • ringing in the ears
  • clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint
  • locking of the jaw when attempting to open the mouth
  • neck, shoulder and back pain
  • swelling of the sides of the face
  • inability to open the mouth comfortably

Treatment of TMJ Disorder

May involve one or more of the following:

  • Self care practises, such as eating soft foods, using heat packs and avoiding extreme movements like yawning and gum chewing
  • Occlusal Adjustments, where teeth are ground down to bring the bite into balance
  • Repositioning of the jaw using a night guard (Occlusal Splint)
  • Prescription medication such as anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxants
  • Physiotherapy
  • Stress management such as counselling and Yoga
  • Surgical treatment


Bruxism is excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth that is not a part of normal chewing movements. It is an oral

parafunctional activity that occurs in most humans at sometime in their life. clenching and grinding may occur during the day or at night. Bruxism during sleep causes the majority of health and oral complaints. Bruxers (persons with bruxism) are often unaware that they developed this habit and often do not know that treatment is available until damage to the mouth and teeth has occurred.

Causes of Bruxism

A combination of physical and psychological factors contribute to buxism.

  • Physical Stress, such as illness, nutritional deficiency and dehydration
  • Psychological Stress, anxiety and tension
  • Abnormal Anatomy of the teeth such as high spot on fillings, super erupted teeth

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

These may vary according to the nature, frequency, duration and strength of excessive clenching and grinding.

  • pain in the teeth
  • sensitivity to hot and cold
  • chronic facial pain with tension headache
  • stiffness and pain in the jaw joints (TMJ) and muscles with restricted opening of the mouth and difficulty in chewing
  • earache
  • flattened and worn tooth surface
  • microfractures of the tooth enamel
  • noise that occurs when the teeth are ground together, witnessed by partners, relatives or friends

Bruxism diagnosis is based on clinical examination and dental and medical history.

This is assessed by:

  • the location of the pain, stiffness or soreness
  • range of jaw movements
  • tooth wear

Treatment of Bruxism

  • Behaviour Modification: teaching the patient how to rest his/her tongue teeth and lips
  • Occlusal Splint (also called night guard), a specially-fitted plastic mouth appliance worn at night to even to force of biting. It also prevents further wear of the teeth surfaces
  • Biofeedback: this involves the usage of an electronic device that measures the amount of muscle activity of the mouth and jaw indicated to the patient when too much muscle activity is taking place so that the behaviour could be changed.