- Chronic Pain TMD (Temporomandibular Dysfunction)
- Splints & NightGuards
Chronic Pain TMD
Facial pain comes in many forms. It can be from a toothache, an earache, angina, the start of a heart attack or the result of an accident. Other causes of facial joint and muscle related pain can be the grinding of teeth, which can be higher in patients taking Serotonergic antidepressants. There can also be a problem resulting from an inadequate bite (how the teeth and jaw meet). Most dentists treat the muscle and joint-related pain, known as temporomandibular dysfunction pain, by constructing a temporary splint. This allows them to determine whether the teeth are in any way part of the problem. There are also relationships between jaw muscle and joint pain and other diseases or conditions and these include Rheumatoid and Osteo-arthritis. For these issues we would work closely with the patient’s medical practitioner to try to resolve the dental aspects of these conditions.
The dentist has a large referral base from many clinicians, ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) surgeons, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and those that treat with acupuncture. Often people with facial pain go to a local doctor and are referred to an ENT surgeon with suspected earache. The ENT surgeon after examination and finding no ear issues will often refer the patient as they have diagnosed Temporomandibular Dysfunction.
When a patient presents we perform a thorough examination, check the bite, jaw joint movement issues and palpate the muscles of the face and neck. We also assess the medical history and get questionnaires completed. These assessments allow us to better understand the patient’s pain and its potential origins. Once these assessments have been made we then formulate a treatment plan and explain what is known about the pain process relating to each patient.
Studies have been conducted that show that patients with TMJ arthritis may benefit from treatments such as glucosamine. If the patient is deemed to fit the criteria where this may be of benefit such treatments can be suggested.
Another condition that occurs is tooth grinding/clenching or properly known as bruxism. Bruxism is when you clench (tightly hold your top and bottom teeth together) or grind (slide your teeth back and forth over each other) your teeth. There are a number of different treatment options for this and they include mouth splints or night guards but also clinical studies have found that drugs such as clonazapam may be useful in certain situations. The dentist will address all the treatment possibilities before a treatment plan is decided.
If you suffer facial pain please consider getting a consultation for assessment and treatment planning.