Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are caused due to jaw problems, jaw joint troubles and nearby facial tissues accountable for moving and chewing the jaw. These disorders are actually TMD but have gained a distorted name TMJ, which means temporomandibular joint.

TMJ is the flexible joint that connects the lower jaw to the bones near the temples of the skull, located in front of the ear on both sides of the head. These joints allow smooth up and down and side to side jaw movement. It enables you chew, talk, and yawn and any facial movement in which jaw is involved.

TMJ Disorders sypmtoms

Causes of TMD

Albeit, the reason of TMD is unclear, but mostly it is due to temporomandibular joint, injury to the jaw and tissues of the neck and head that may lead to TMD. Some other causes could include:

  • Clenching of teeth that puts pressure on the TMJ
  • Displacement of the soft disc or cushion between the socket and ball
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress that often compels you to clinch facial and jaw muscles or the teeth

Signs of TMD

Some common signs of TMD may include:

  • Tenderness or pain in the jaw joint location, face, shoulders and neck and around the ear, which appears while speaking, chewing, or opening your mouth wide
  • Cannot open the mouth very wide
  • Jaws get stuck when you open or close the mouth
  • Popping or clicking sounds from the jaw joint during opening and closing the mouth and often while chewing also
  • Lethargic feeling especially in the face
  • Difficulty in chewing as both the teeth lines are not compatible
  • Swelled face sidewise

Some other popular signs include headaches, toothaches, dizziness, earaches, neck aches, hearing issues, upper shoulder pain, and ringing sound in the ears.

How Is TMD Diagnosed?

The dentist will check your temporomandibular joints for tenderness and pain, try to listen for clicking and other prevalent signs, look for restricted movement of the jaws etc. Often panoramic x-rays may be recommended. All these tests allow the dentist to have a clear view of the TMD symptoms. Some imaging tests, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) may also be recommended.

Treatments of TMD

Some common traditional treatments include:

Apply Cold or Moist Heat Packs: You can administer the ice pack to get relief from the pain and swelling in 10 minutes. You should also perform some stretching exercises of your jaw, which should be followed by the warm towel pack for a few minutes.

Avoid Hard Foods: You should eat soft food items like yogurt, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, soup, boiled fruits etc. Decrease the chewing process.

Take Medications: Opt for the right medication to relieve swelling and muscle pain. The drugs could be nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In addition, anti-anxiety medications and can also help, which are available on prescription.

Laser Therapy: It can cut down on the inflammation and pain. It can also widen the opening of the mouth.

Wear Night Guard: Night guards can be fitted over the teeth to prevent the effect of grinding the teeth. Your dentist can advise the type of mouth guard you require.

Corrective Dental Treatments: There are several treatments that can correct this disorder like replacing missing teeth, braces, crowns, bridges to get the right surfaces of your teeth.

Relaxation Techniques: It may allow you to control muscle stress in the jaw. Physical therapy and massage treatment can help. You should also opt for stress reduction therapy and biofeedback.

Scientific Treatments for TMD

If the above treatments fail your dentist may advise any of the following treatments to you:

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation: In this therapy low-intensity electrical current is provided for getting relief from pain by easing the facial tissues and jaw joints.
  • Ultrasound: In this treatment deep heat is applied to the TMJ to relax from the soreness and to promote mobility.
  • Trigger-point Injections: In this process pain relieving medication or anesthesia is permeated into the facial muscles also known as “trigger points” to get relief from pain.
  • Radio Wave Therapy: In this therapy radio waves are created by applying electrical vibration to the joint, which stimulates blood flow. It gives relief from pain to the patient.

Dental Surgery for TMD

Surgery is the ultimate remedy when all other options fail to offer any relief. There are three categories of surgery prevalent for TMD:

  • Arthrocentesis: It’s a small procedure performed applying general anesthesia. If you are suffering from the sudden – onset and restricted jaw opening issues and have no severe history of TMJ issues. In this surgery needles is inserted within the joint for cleaning the joint with sterile liquids. Often in this process a blunt device can also be placed inside of the joint to remove a disc stuck in front of condyle.
  • Arthroscopy: For this you will be given general anesthesia and the dental surgeon will make a tiny incision by the side of your ear and put a thin instrument with lens and light inside the incision. It is connected to a video screen, enabling the surgeon to view the TMJ and the nearby area. Now the surgeon will remove the inflamed tissue or adjust the disc or condyle.

Open-joint Surgery: You would be given general anesthesia and the entire area surrounding the TMJ is opened to have a complete view and improved access by the dental surgeon. Open joint surgery are of several types and is mostly performed if the bony structures are worsening that encompasses the jaw joint, there are tumors in the joint or its surrounding area, there are chips of bone or scarring in the joint.

This surgery takes longer compared to other surgeries in terms of recuperating process.
Visit your dentist right away if you are facing any trouble in eating or opening your mouth.

Just remember there could be several possible conditions and causes that may lead to TMD symptoms, ranging from whiplash injuries to arthritis etc. Let your dentist understand your condition and suggest the best remedy!

Book an Appointment

Please feel free to ring us at
(03) 9544 8241

Dental Fillings

Why live with painful and unsightly cavities when you can have them filled by our dentists in a painless procedure!
In order to repair a cavity, the decayed portion of your tooth will be removed by your dentist. The portion of the tooth occupied by the decayed material will then be filled. Fillings are utilised to repair teeth that are broken, cracked, or that have cavities.

What Are The Steps For Filling Teeth?
Initially, a local anaesthetic will be injected into the area that surrounds the tooth. Novocaine is normally used. Then, a drill, laser, or air abrasion will be utilised to remove the area that is decayed. The type of instrument that is used will depend on the preference and training of your dentist, along with the extent and location of the tooth decay.

Your dentist will then test and probe the area of decay to ensure that all decayed material has been removed. After the removal of the decay, the space to be occupied by the filling will be cleaned so that all debris and bacteria are removed. If the area of the decay is close to the root, a liner constructed of a composite resin, glass ionomer or other type of material may be used in order to provide protection to the nerve. After the insertion of the filling, it will be finished and polished.

Additional steps are needed for fillings that are tooth-coloured. Subsequent to the removal of decay and cleaning of the area, the material that is tooth-coloured will be applied in layers. A specially designed light that hardens or cures each layer is used. After the completion of the multi-layering procedure, the composite material will be shaped by your dentist, excess material will be trimmed, and it will be polished.

Filling Materials Used
There are several types of filling materials that are currently available. Teeth may be filled with porcelain, gold, silver amalgam, or tooth-coloured composite resins. Silver amalgam is comprised of mercury with tin, silver, copper, and zinc mixed with it. The extent and location of the cavity, expense of filling material, insurance coverage of the patient, and the recommendation of the dentist will determine the kind of filling material that will best suit your needs

Gold Fillings

  • Extremely durable – will usually last for the life of the patient. Will not corrode.
  • Strength – Can withstand almost any chewing forces
  • Aesthetics – Some people prefer the look of gold to sliver amalgam


  • Expense – more costly than other types of material. Can be 10 X more costly than amalgam
  • Multiple Office Visits – requires a minimum of two visits
  • Aesthetics – some patients don’t like its appearance

Silver Amalgam Fillings

  • Durability – Normally lasts longer than composites. Normally lasts ten to fifteen years or more.
  • Strength – able to withstand all chewing forces
  • Expense – costs less than gold or composite fillings


  • Generally poor aesthetics – natural colour of teeth is not matched
  • Requires more space – A portion of the tooth that is healthy must be removed, at times, to provide a large enough area for the amalgam filling.
  • Discolouration – a hue that is greyish may be imparted to the adjacent tooth structure
  • Fractures and Cracks – All teeth expand and contract with temperature changes, which can cause cracking. However, amalgam materials may expand and contract to a greater extent than other materials, leading to an increased incidence of fractures and cracks.
  • Allergies – approximately 1% of patients have allergies to the mercury that is in silver amalgam

Composite Fillings – Tooth Coloured

  • Aesthetics – composites can be closely matched to the colour of the patient’s teeth. They are particularly useful for teeth that are visible
  • Bonding – composite fillings will bond chemically with a tooth and provide structural support to the tooth
  • Versatile – can also be utilised in the repair of broken, worn, or chipped teeth
  • Space requirement – at times less tooth material is needed to be removed in comparison to silver amalgam fillings when preparing a space for this filling.


  • Reduced durability – Composite fillings do not last as long as amalgams or gold. In addition, they often don’t hold up as well under the pressure of use, particularly if they are used to fill large cavities.
  • Takes Longer – due to the process needed to fill a tooth with composite materials, it takes longer in the dentists chair to place them.
  • More than one visit – if composites are being used for onlays or inlays, it may require more than one office visit
  • Chipping – composite materials are more likely to chip than amalgams
  • Cost – composite filling may cost twice as much as amalgam fillings

Additional Filling Materials
In addition to composite resins that are tooth coloured, there are two other types of tooth-coloured fillings. Glass ionomer and ceramics.

Glass Ionomer
This material is constructed of a specific type of glass and acrylic. It is commonly utilised on fillings that are beneath the gum line and for young children. This material releases fluoride, which may protect a tooth from additional decay. Nevertheless, glass ionomer is not as strong as composite resin and more prone to fracture and wear. It normally lasts for five years or less and the expense is similar to composites.

Usually constructed of porcelain. Ceramics are stain resistant, compared to composites, but are more abrasive. Ceramics are very durable, and usually last for 15 years or more, but, they are costly, and the expense can be similar to gold.

Porcelain Crown & Veneers

Rejuvenate Your Smile with Porcelain Crown and Veneers from Monash Dental Group
Remember; beautiful and aesthetically appealing cosmetic dentistry is not a matter of chance; it demands an experienced clinician who is sensitive to your unique needs and an expert dental ceramist who leverages the art and science of dentistry to deliver optimal results. At Monash Dental Group, we boast an expert team of experienced cosmetic dentists, who have extensive experience in fitting patients with porcelain veneers and crowns. Our first-class porcelain veneers and crowns are highly effective for your unique functional and cosmetic needs.

At Monash Dental Group, our products are expertly crafted to compliment your age, gender, expectations, and facial features. We leverage the expertise of the best dental ceramists to guarantee that the veneers and crowns are of premium quality, resilient, and possess excellent craftsmanship. We work diligently to provide you with a top-quality product that beautifully compliments your face, while simultaneously restoring the function and aesthetics of your natural teeth.

Porcelain Veneers
Typically, porcelain veneers are a form of thin laminates of chinaware that are securely bonded to the surface of the tooth. For diverse dental problems, it is one of the most aesthetically appealing means of enhancing your smile. Veneers are one of the most popular treatments for restoration of chips, spaces, fractures, unshapely and discoloured teeth, or misaligned and rotated teeth. They deliver an unmatched cosmetic makeover that allows alteration of shape, position, size, and the colour of your teeth. Monash Dental Group boasts experienced cosmetic dentists who deliver exceptional results with porcelain veneers. We feature:

  • Dramatic yet aesthetically beautiful and natural cosmetic dental enhancement
  • Durable, high quality, and permanent
  • Enhanced self esteem

The procedure typically requires two appointments. At first, the tooth is prepared for minimal reduction to make enough space for the porcelain veneer. A mould of the tooth is taken for fabrication, which takes approximately 2 weeks. In the next visit, the permanent veneer is bonded in place.

Crowns are a rigid and strong cap that restores the tooth to its natural function and anatomic contours, as well as protects the underlying tooth. In certain conditions, where veneers are not possible, crowns are a suitable option. Some of the scenarios in which crowns may be used include tooth fractures, large restorations, functionally compromised teeth, history of root canal therapy, and acute damage due to decay. There are a wide range of choices available in crowns and bridges.

Dental crown procedures take just two appointments, depending on the condition of your teeth and gums. First, the tooth is prepared for reduction and an impression is taken for fabrication. A temporary, plastic crown in fitted while the mould is being fabricated. In the next visit, the temporary crown is removed and the final crown is secured permanently into position. The fabrication procedure may take time depending on the type of crown.

Monash Dental Group is an expert in crowns and veneers, delivering matchless quality and desired results. The key benefits are:

  • Extensive protection and support to the compromised or damaged teeth
  • Natural and aesthetically enhanced appearance
  • Restoration of full functions and a confident smile

Contact the professionals at Monash Dental Group for more details on porcelain veneers and crowns. We guarantee excellent quality and fantastic results in a cost-effective manner.