The temporomandibular joint, more commonly called TMJ, is the joint connecting the lower and upper jaw. This joint is aids the movement of the jaw and enables us to move our jaw in various directions to chew and speak. Complications with this joint and pain in and around the jaw joints are known as Temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

Those with TMJ typically experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the jaw (often mistaken for earache)
  • Persistent headaches
  • Facial aches
  • Inability to open the mouth wide
  • Pain and difficulty with chewing
  • Pain or aching around the ear and jaw
  • Sleeping disorders and chronic tiredness
  • Clicking or grating noise when opening the mouth or chewing

While the exact cause of TMJ and TMD are difficult to pinpoint, it is usually a combination of tensing of the jaw while exercising, clenching due to stress or grinding of the teeth while sleeping. Treating the cause of these tense muscles is the key to reducing discomfort of TMJ.

How can TMJ be treated?

To reduce TMJ related pain, the tense muscles must be addressed. Your dentist may be able to assist in easing tense jaw muscles and preventing damage to the teeth with a customised bite splint or bite guard in combination with low level laser.

With Dr Ismail Sayed's expertise in laser dentistry, he has seen the effectivity of low level laser therapy in the treatment and management of TMJ pain. With low-level lasers, light energy can be used to penetrate deep into inflamed muscles and target the joint itself, relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Not only can laser therapy provide immediate relief but it can promote blood flow to the affected area allowing for better healing without the side-effects of medications.

Laser pain therapy for TMJ takes under 10 minutes and can be repeated until adequate pain relief is achieved. How many sessions are needed by each person will be unique, but your dentist should be able to assist you in the treatment process. It is suggested that you complete a session every 2-4 days to feel the difference. To experience maximum benefits, laser therapy should be done in conjunction with your prescribed treatments.