At TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre Sydney, we treat craniofacial pain (TMD) which is a chronic pain condition. Most of the time craniofacial pain is due to bruxism (grinding) or clenching during sleep, which damages the jaw joint (TMJ). Grinding and clenching during sleep (especially in the absence of stress) is usually due to airway issues, so the resulting pain is secondary to the airway problem.The damage to the TMJ sends a constant pain signal to the brain via the trigeminal nerve, the largest of the cranial nerves.
Central sensitisation (a condition of the nervous system associated with chronic pain) then occurs, whereby the nervous system goes into a persistent state of high reactivity such that pain is maintained even after the initial injury may have healed. Airway and TMJ problems cause the head to move into a forward posture, leading to neck and shoulder pain, and further postural compensation can lead to lower back pain and foot problems. Thus chronic pain is a vicious cycle affecting not only your sleep but causing pain in distant sites.
Gut issues and inflammation are also part of the vicious cycle of central sensitisation which is why we recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to our patients. Our diagnostic process allows us to find out the exact location of the actual problem so we can treat that as a priority. It is important for us to breath well though the nose so that we may achieve optimal posture.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the jaw joint in front of each ear that connects the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the skull. This is necessary to allow movement side to side, up and down, forwards and backwards, creating the motions that allow us to make facial expressions, speak and eat.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunctions (TMD) refer to the complex conditions that can cause pain in the jaw joint and associated muscles, and which may ultimately lead to problems using the jaw. This condition may affect your ability to speak, eat, chew, swallow, make facial expressions and even breathe. Left untreated, it is likely to cause other parts of the face, neck and head to hurt.
All of the causes of craniofacial pain are not completely understood. However the most common cause is bruxism, which is where one clenches their teeth while asleep, and there is new evidence suggesting this could be a ‘protective mechanism’ against sleep apnoea. Other known factors are injuries to the jaw, various forms of arthritis, dental procedures, genetics, hormones, low-level infections and auto-immune diseases.
The first step to get you on the road to better health is a thorough health check via comprehensive examination. This involves the use of special state-of-the-art x-rays, a range of motion testing, jaw tracking and other necessary diagnostics. We then discuss with you the onset, duration and intensity of pain, and may address any other stress or nutritional concerns. This process allows us to determine the most accurate diagnosis for each patient and then we can tailor the treatment plan to each individual’s needs.
Each of the treatment plans at TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre Sydney is based on our philosophy of using research–based, non-invasive treatment with dentofacial orthodontics a key aspect in treating the complex relationship between the teeth, jaw joints and masticatory muscles to achieve an optimal holistic outcome.
At The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre Sydney we are here to help you on the road to a happier, healthier life. Please fill out the information required below to submit your enquiry.
Dr Louis Chan,
Principal Dentist & Owner of MyDental Care/ TMJ Sleep Therapy Centre Sydney
Certified provider of Myobrace (MRC), Insignia™, Rapid Smiles, Invisalign and the only Australian practice licensed under TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre International
“For over 25 years I've been focusing on delivering holistic treatments for children and adults to achieve healthy body development and a great facial balance.”
- Dr Louis Chan