What is TMD?

jaw painTemporomandibular joint dysfunction – or TMD – is a jaw disorder often caused by bruxism, or grinding and clenching of the teeth. Some people grind their teeth only during sleep (nocturnal bruxism), while others grind or clench their jaw during the day. Most people are not aware of this behaviour, which is generally thought to be related to stress or anxiety. 

Some other possible causes of bruxism are:

  • the body’s reaction to a misalignment of the teeth
  • certain rare diseases of the nerves and muscles in the face
  • some medicines that treat depression, including Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline) and Paxil (paroxetine).

Grinding can cause the outer layers of tooth enamel to wear away, exposing the next layer of the tooth (the dentine). This may cause sensitivity. Severe cases can cause headaches on waking or unexplained facial pain.

If you are experiencing jaw pain, please make an appointment with one of our caring dentists who will investigate the matter with you.

If your bruxism or grinding is related to tooth problems, your dentist will probably encourage you to correct the alignment of your teeth. In severe cases, your dentist may need to use onlays or crowns to reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth.