In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the Scarecrow discover a Tin Man who’s rusted solid. After a few moments of squeaking gibberish, they realize he’s asking them to apply oil to the hinge connecting his jaw and head. Dorothy applies the oil, the joint loosens, and he can comfortably speak.
Clinically speaking, the Tin Man was actually suffering from a syndrome of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ Pain. It was his TMJ that was rusted shut. Unfortunately, for people suffering from TMJ pain, the treatment isn’t as simple as adding a little oil.
What is TMJ?
The TMJ is a ball and socket hinge located at the back of the jaw. A bony bump at the front of the socket called the articular eminence (AE) prevents the jaw from slipping out of place.
“For most of us, the jaw can slip back and forth without any issue,”says Dr Singh. “But in some people, this bony bump is low enough to allow the jaw to slip forward, but is just high enough to prevent it from slipping back into place. This makes it very painful – or impossible – for a person to voluntarily shut their mouth.”
This type of TMJ pain is considered acute. The jaw may slip back onto place on its own, but may require the jaw to be manually pushed back into place by a physician in an emergency room.
The chronic form of TMJ pain, which isn’t as common, is much more serious.
“The concern with chronic TMJ dislocation is that eventually the tendons, muscles, cartilage and the AE become damaged, leading to arthritis, nerve damage and possibly, permanent dislocation,” says Dr. Singh.
People with chronic TMJ dislocation are probably predisposed to the condition. “Something in the anatomy of the joint or its surrounding bones makes it much more likely to slip out of place,” says Dr. Singh. “It’s a very painful and embarrassing condition, and over time, it can cause permanent damage to the TMJ area.”
Ann had problems with a dentist not understanding her TMJ pain. After placing many crowns and fillings he did not understand her bite was not in the proper place. Then after 3 visits with Dr Singh she recovered and does not have TMJ pain.
“I had headaches and sore shoulders for years. The night guard has helped wonders and for the first time in years. I no longer wake up with a headache or discomfort in my front teeth. I am really impressed with the time and attention Dr Singh took to make it comfortable and the after care given to ensure it remains correct and comfortable.” Sally Holgate
Jaw joint conditon
Dr Singh has extensive training in treating problems associated with the jaw joint and bite, or what we call ‘Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorders’. These come in many forms and the symptoms can include:
- Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth.
- TMJ Pain in the chewing muscles or jaw joint, especially first thing in the morning or in the evening after a stressful day.
- Soreness in the jaw.
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth or locking of the jaw.
- Jaw muscle stiffness.
- Headaches or radiating pain in the face, shoulders and neck.
- Ringing in the ears.
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.
- Can be mistaken for chronic toothache.
What causes it?
These problems have many contributing factors such as stress and grinding of teeth. Trauma to the jaw plays a role in some TMJ disorders. But for most jaw joint and muscle problems, scientists don’t know the cause. For many people, symptoms seem to start without an obvious reason. Research disputes the popular belief that a bad bite can trigger TMJ disorders. Because the condition is more common in women than in men, scientists are now exploring a possible link between female hormones and TMJ disorders.
How Is TMJ Pain Treated?
Dr Singh is fully trained to diagnose these problems and treat them –He uses ‘TMJ therapy’ and bite adjustment. The therapy involves wearing a specialised (Hard Night guard) stabilisation splint. This is carefully fabricated and adjusted to relax the chewing muscles and place the jaw joint in a comfortable position to allow it to heal properly and stop TMJ pain.
Once the pain has been resolved over a period of 3-6 months, certain restorative treatment may be required to correct the bite.
“My TMJ joints were sore and the side of my face were painful the last few months. Dr Singh advised that I wear a night guard to resolve my TMJ bite problem. It prevented me from wearing down due to my grinding and help my jaw joints recover. The treatment and care was great. Thank you for helping sore jaw better.”
In summary, careful planning and analysis will allow the treatment to be designed around your individual needs.
The facial muscles and jaw joints are all part of a system that is controlled by the brain. Because Dr Singh has a detailed understanding of this system, he can detect specific reasons that cause harmful bite pattern and head and neck pain.
When muscles and joints do not work properly, the muscles will often tire. The tiredness can become part of a cycle that results in tissue damage, pain, muscle tenderness and spasm.
Although accidents involving injuries to the jaw, head, or neck, or diseases such as arthritis may result in some bite problems, Using detailed bite evaluation we can diagnose any discrepancies with your bite. We also use it to get the accuracy of newly fitted restorations 100% correct to make your restorations last longer.