TMD & Occlusion

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) refers to a group of conditions that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), muscles of mastication (the muscles used for chewing), and surrounding tissues. The TMJ is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, allowing for movements like chewing, speaking, and yawning. TMD is a common term used to describe pain and dysfunction associated with this joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. It is estimated that approximately 33% of all individuals will experience TMD within their lifetime.

TMD can have various causes, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some common signs and symptoms of TMD include:

  1. Jaw pain or tenderness: Discomfort or pain in the jaw joint area, which may be aggravated by chewing or talking.

  2. Clicking or popping sounds: Audible noises during jaw movement, which may or may not be accompanied by pain.

  3. Limited jaw movement: Difficulty in opening the mouth wide or a feeling of the jaw being “locked.”

  4. Muscle pain: Pain in the muscles of the jaw, face, and neck.

  5. Headaches: TMD can sometimes cause headaches, especially in the temple area.

  6. Ear pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus): TMD symptoms can be associated with ear-related discomfort.


Think you might be suffering from TMD? Our experts here at The Dentists at Galway can help. Call us today for a thorough examination.

During the examination, we will look at things such as:

  1. Patient History:

    • One of our specialized dentists will begin by taking a detailed medical and dental history, including information about any symptoms related to TMD, such as jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds, headaches, and difficulty in opening or closing the mouth.
  2. Symptom Assessment:

    • The dentist will inquire about the specific symptoms the patient is experiencing and may ask about triggers or patterns related to the symptoms.
  3. Physical Examination:

    • The dentist will conduct a physical examination of the head, neck, jaw, and oral structures. This may involve assessing the range of motion of the jaw, checking for muscle tenderness, and examining the temporomandibular joints for any signs of dysfunction.
  4. Imaging Studies:

    • In some cases, the dentist may order imaging studies such as X-rays to get a more detailed view of the temporomandibular joints and surrounding structures.
  5. Bite Analysis:

    • The dentist may assess the patient’s bite to identify any issues with the alignment of the teeth or jaw. This could involve examining how the upper and lower teeth come together and checking for signs of misalignment or malocclusion.
  6. Muscle Function Assessment:

    • Evaluation of the muscles involved in jaw movement is crucial. This may include palpation of the jaw muscles to identify areas of tenderness or dysfunction.
  7. Treatment Planning:

    • Based on the findings from the examination and any diagnostic tests, the dentist will develop a personalized treatment plan. Treatment options for TMD may include lifestyle modifications, stress management, physical therapy, medications, and, in some cases, dental procedures or appliances to correct bite issues.
  8. Patient Education:

    • The dentist will educate the patient about TMD, its causes, and potential contributing factors. They may also provide guidance on home care practices and exercises to help manage symptoms.
  9. Follow-up:

    • Depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment plan, follow-up appointments may be scheduled to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment.

It’s important to note that TMD treatment can vary widely based on the individual case.