Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD, is where clicking, grinding, locking or pain is associated with the temporomandibular joint or its surrounding muscles or structures. It can occur due to grinding or clenching, arthritic changes in the joints, trauma, poor tooth alignment, sleep apnoea, or from other sources. TMD can produce pain and discomfort with the joints or chewing muscles, and can lead to tooth wear and cracks.
Muscle relaxant injectables straight into the largest grinding muscles, the masseters, is an option to effectively treat TMD. The injectables will decrease the heavy forces coming from the tight over-worked muscles. You will still be able to chew but it will feel like the lower jaw wants to naturally open up again after biting down. This can help with grinding and clenching both at night and during the day, may help with headaches, and relieve painful symptoms. It starts to take effect at 2 weeks, takes full effect around 4-6 weeks, and lasts between 3-6 months. It can also result in a little facial slimming along the jawline.
Occasionally, secondary grinding muscles near the temples, the temporalis, may over-compensate for the loss of action of the masseters. In this case, these muscles may also require additional injecting.
Treating temporomandibular joint disorder can be complicated. Injectables can work well in most cases, though dosage will be dependant on a person to person basis. It is important to have your case assessed by a professional trained in dealing with TMD as injectables are not always the solution. At Smile Design Dental, your dentist will complete a thorough exam and help you find the right option to treat your TMD.