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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction

TMJ Treatment Singapore | Orchard Health Clinic
The Temporomandibular Joint is a hinge that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, which are in front of each ear. This joint lets you move your jaw up and down, and side to side so that you can talk, chew and yawn. Hence, problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction. It is also most common amongst women and those between the ages of 20 to 40 years old and TMJ treatment is highly recommended.

So what causes Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction?

The Temporomandibular joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk which normally keeps the movement smooth. Painful TMJ Dysfunction can also occur if the disk moves out of its proper alignment, the joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis or the joint is damaged by a heavy blow or whiplash. Actions such as grinding or clenching your teeth (Bruxism) which puts a lot of pressure on the joint can also result in this dysfunction resulting in the need for TMJ treatment in Singapore. Factors that may increase the risk of developing TMJ disorders include various types of Arthritis such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis, jaw injury, chronic grinding or clenching of teeth, or certain connective tissue diseases that cause problems that may affect the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder can manifest through a variety of symptoms affecting the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for that indicate you may require TMJ treatment in Singapore:
  1. Jaw Pain: This pain may be localised to one or both sides of the jaw and can range from mild to severe.
  2. Facial Pain: In addition to jaw pain, you may experience facial pain or discomfort, particularly in the cheeks, temples, or around the ears.
  3. Difficulty Chewing: TMJ disorder can make it painful or difficult to chew or bite down, especially when eating hard or tough foods. You may also experience a clicking, popping, or grating sensation when chewing.
  4. Limited Jaw Movement: Restricted or limited movement of the jaw joint is another common symptom of TMJ disorder. This may manifest as difficulty opening or closing the mouth fully, or a sensation of jaw locking or getting stuck in a certain position.
  5. Muscle Stiffness: TMJ disorder can cause muscle stiffness or tightness in the jaw, neck, and shoulders, leading to discomfort and decreased range of motion in these areas.
  6. Jaw Clicking or Popping: Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when moving the jaw joint are also common symptoms. These noises may occur with jaw movement, such as opening or closing the mouth, and can be accompanied by pain or discomfort.
  7. Ear Pain or Pressure: TMJ disorder can cause referred pain to the ears, resulting in symptoms such as ear pain, a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears, or ringing in the ears(tinnitus).
  8. Headaches: You may experience headaches, particularly tension headaches or migraines, as a result of muscle tension and pain in the jaw and surrounding areas.
  9. Facial Swelling: In severe cases of TMJ disorder or during flare-ups, facial swelling may occur around the jaw joint, cheeks, or temples, contributing to discomfort and difficulty with jaw movement.
  10. Toothaches or Tooth Sensitivity: TMJ disorder can cause referred pain to the teeth, leading to symptoms such as toothaches, tooth sensitivity, or pain when biting down.
It’s important to note that not everyone with TMJ disorder will experience all of these symptoms, and symptoms may vary in severity from person to person. If you suspect you may have TMJ disorder, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

Diagnosing TMJ disorder typically involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. Here’s what you can expect:
  1. Medical History: The healthcare professional will begin by discussing your symptoms and medical  They’ll inquire about any pain, discomfort, or limitations in jaw movement you may be experiencing, as well as any factors that may contribute to TMJ disorder, such as a history of trauma or teeth grinding.
  2. Physical Examination: A physical examination of the jaw joint and surrounding structures will be  This may involve listening to and feeling your jaw as you open and close your mouth, observing the range of motion in your jaw, and palpating areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort.
  3. Imaging Studies: If the healthcare professional suspects a problem with your TMJ, they may recommend imaging studies to obtain detailed images of the joint and surrounding structures. These may include:
    • Dental X-rays: These can help assess the alignment of your teeth and jaw and identify any signs of damage or degeneration.
    • CTScans: These provide detailed images of abnormalities or bony changes.
    • MRI: MRIs can reveal problems with the TMJ’s disk or surrounding soft tissue, such as inflammation, displacement, or tears.
  4. TMJ Arthroscopy: In some cases, TMJ arthroscopy may be used to aid in the diagnosis of TMJ disorder. During this minimally invasive procedure, a small tube is inserted into the joint space, and a camera is used to visualise the area and assess for any abnormalities or damage.
If you suspect you’re suffering from TMJ disorder, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Early diagnosis and TMJ treatment are key to effectively managing TMJ disorder and preventing long-term complications associated with this condition. TMJ Dysfunction often causes severe pain and discomfort, which is why seeking treatment is necessary. It can be temporary or last many years. It might affect one or both sides of your face accompanied by some swelling. Some common symptoms may include pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide. Jaws that get stuck or locked in the open or closed-mouth position as well as clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew is a tell-tale sign as well. Some have also experienced toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (Tinnitus). Physical therapy is a form of TMJ treatment in Singapore that can help treat Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction. Your therapist can help you restore the natural movement of your jaw and decrease your pain. Manual therapy will be done to stretch the jaw in order to restore normal joint and muscle flexibility or break up scar tissues (“adhesions”) that may develop when there is constant injury. Low-load exercises that do not exert a lot of pressure on your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) but can strengthen the muscles of the jaw and restore a more natural pain-free motion will also be prescribed to aid in your recovery. Posture awareness when you are sitting and walking will be taught. If in doubt, please seek professional advice.

Strategies for Preventing TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder can cause discomfort and affect daily activities, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Here’s how:
  1. Limit Jaw Strain: Minimise activities that strain the jaw joint, such as excessive gum chewing, nail-biting, or clenching the jaw. Be mindful of habits that may contribute to jaw tension and try to avoid them whenever possible.
  2. Avoid Teeth Grinding: Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can contribute to TMJ disorder by placing excessive pressure on the jaw joint. If you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a night guard to protect your teeth and alleviate strain on the jaw muscles.
  3. Practice Stress Management: Stress and anxiety can exacerbate jaw tension and increase the risk of developing TMJ disorder. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help reduce stress and promote relaxation of the jaw muscles.
  4. Avoid Excessive Jaw Opening: Be mindful of activities that require excessive jaw opening, such as yawning widely or taking large bites of food. These movements can strain the jaw joint and increase the risk of TMJ disorder.
If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain or discomfort, consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and TMJ treatment in Singapore. Check out our popular articles: Diastasis Recti, Tight Back Muscles, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction, Tennis Elbow, Wrist Tendon Injury, Sciatica, Whiplash, Hernia, Herniated Disc (Slipped Disc).

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