TMJ Analysis and Diagnosis

Temporo Mandibular Joint Problems

What is TMJ?

TMJ Treatment CorkT.M.J. stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint (the jaw joint in front of the ear) which is arguably the most important joint in the body.

We need it working properly for eating, talking, and laughing!

TMJ Symptoms

TMJ Treatment CorkWhen it’s not functioning properly several symptoms present such as:

  • Clicking or locking jaws
  • Grinding and clenching the teeth
  • Headaches – including Migraines
  • Limited jaw opening
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
  • Eye pain and light sensitivity
  • Pain around the head and face
  • Balance problems
  • Neck and shoulder problems, and many more

These symptoms are often referred to as:

  • T.M.J. Syndrome
  • Cranio-Mandibular
  • Cervical pain
  • T.M.D. Dysfunction.

Seeking Treatment for TMJ

It is my experience that a lot of people suffer with one of more of the above symptoms, and frequently, for many years. They may, in desperation have sought out a cure from a variety of Health professionals – Doctors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, and Massage Therapists to name a few!

Despite the well intended treatment by such professionals, it must be understood that if the jaw joints are out of harmony with the dental bite, no matter what drugs or manipulation techniques are tried, the moment the teeth begin to bite together the therapy becomes undone, thus perpetuating the problem and the need to see the practitioner!

So, the best Health professional to treat T.M.J. problems is a general Dentist trained in the diagnosis and treatment of T.M.J. problems.

You can avoid being misdiagnosed by learning more about T.M.J. below, and your own symptoms. (see previous list)

Jaw Joint Anatomy

Lets take a closer look at our anatomy to understand what is happening.

Only the lower jaw (Mandible) is able to move. The upper jaw (Maxilla) is part of the skull.

The teeth determine the position of the Mandible, and without them, the Mandible would be free floating, only having contact to the skull through the jaw joints themselves.

The teeth close only where they fit together the best. This may not be where the muscles and ligaments suspending and moving the jaw actually want to be.

The muscles will therefore assume whatever position is dictated to them by the teeth, or lack of them!

Muscles are composed of bundles of muscle fibres and these fibres have a certain length at which they operate the best – their ‘physiological rest position’.

In this position the muscles are at their most relaxed and strongest. If the muscles are elongated, or foreshortened instead of in their relaxed resting length they will become tense.

This tense contraction impedes blood circulation, resulting in spasm and cramping of the muscle tissue.

We have all experienced muscle cramp. It is very painful, but goes away when the muscle relaxes again.

A Normal T.M.J.

An Abnormal T.M.J.

TMJ Treatment

So now I have a T.M.J. problem – how do I get rid of it?

First of all the shorter the time frame you have this problem the easier it is to fix it!

As a rule of thumb, the longer you have a T.M.J. problem and the older you are the harder it is to treat.


Before treating a TMJ problem a detailed analysis is required which includes:

  • X-Rays
  • Study models
  • Photographs
  • Measurements of Jaw Opening/Closing
  • Muscle tenderness and Tongue mobility (Tongue-tie?)
  • Other diagnostic tools such as MRI scan and CT scan may also be required.

It is not unusual to find that a patient with Jaw Joint problems may also have a Sleep Disordered breathing problem (see section on Sleep Apnoea).


Treatment may involve:

  1. Short term “neuro-muscular splint”, this is a simple plastic splint that covers the teeth.
  2. Correcting a Bad Bite, this may involve the use of ALF appliances and Orthodontics.
  3. Myofunctional Therapy
  4. Cranio-osteopathy to help with cranial and body alignment.
  5. Breathing Re-training
  6. Use of Low Dose Physiological Regulating Medicine (PRM) to help steer the body back to health.

As you can see the TMJ Treatment in our practice involves a Multi-disciplinary approach involving several healthcare practitioners such as:

  • Functional Dentist
  • Medical Doctors involved in Airway such as ENT and Respiratory Physicians
  • Myofunctional Therapist
  • Cranio-osteopath
  • Buteyko Breathing Practitioner

1a, Barr Na Sraide, Main St, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, Ireland

021487 2600

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  • review rating 5  O'Connor Dental Health clinic is unlike any dentists that I have been to before. It is a warm, welcoming environment where the needs of the patients are put first at all times. This atmosphere is created by an excellent staff. Tony and Bridget are very passionate about the work that they do. They are approaching dentistry and Myofunctional Therapy in a holistic, modern manner which allows them to achieve results that have far reaching effects on the health of their clients. There is always warm welcome from Emily for the patients also. The work that is being carried out in the clinic is ahead of its time, more and more research is showing that oral health has far reaching implications for people's overall health and well being. Many dentists may work to help fix problems with your teeth but few if any in this country are approaching dentistry in such an broad,enlightened manner as Tony O Connor. The combination of Tony's dental work with Bridget working on Myofunctional Therapy is literally changing lives. Thanks for all your help.

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  • review rating 5  To begin with I was in my mid 20's when I began my treatment and my mouth was extremely crowded with crooked teeth. I had sought much information from different clinics via phone calls and they all told me, without even seeing me, that I would have to have teeth removed regardless. All except Tony. When he looked at my teeth, he told me that it might be difficult, but he would try to save these teeth, which is what he ended up doing. Not only are my teeth now straight but, thanks to the advice I received from Bridget, I also learned that I had to control my tongue in order to keep the result, she set out a series of exercises which strengthened my tongue and general well-being by consequence. The clinic had a very homely atmosphere and a calm waiting room. I am extremely pleased with the result and would strongly urge anyone who may be even thinking about orthodontics to at the very least to seek a consultation, after which I am sure it will be obvious that this is the best course of treatment available.

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My experience in the O Connor dental health was pleasent.As a person who is nervous about visiting the dentist i felt very relaxed both in the waiting room and on the chair.Over the years i have attended a few different dentists and this has been the one practice where i felt relaxed and at ease due to the care of the staff. Before my procedures it was explained to me by the staff what to expect and i found this helped put me at ease. For any one who is nervous of visiting the dentists i would strongly recommend this practice.



My daughter needed orthodontic treatment. Tony did a very comprehensive plan for my daughter and went through it with me and my daughter in great detail before he began the treatment. We knew how long it was going to take and what exactly was involved. What I liked about Tony was, he was so enthusiastic himself about the treatment and took great pride in getting it right, tweaking a bit here and there to make sure he got the best result. He explained everything to my daughter and encouraged her through the treatment. Tony does not just look at the teeth but also the shape of her mouth and the overall look. I would highly recommend Tony and his team, he is a genuine, passionate and meticulous about his work and a very nice person as well. My daughter has a lovely smile and my younger daughter can't wait to start her treatment as she sees the fantastic results of Tony's work and can't wait to have the same fantastic smile.



Why Choose O’Connor Dental Health

Friendly, Family Atmosphere

At O'Connor Dental Health we aim to provide a relaxed family atmosphere that is enjoyable for all ages.

Unique Range of Services

We offer a wide range of treatments, including early intervention for children, orthodontics for teens and adults and a multitude of general dental services

Locally Based in Ballincollig, Cork

Our state of the art clinic is located in Ballincollig, Cork. We have ample parking available, comfortable waiting room and a multitude of nearby shops and amenities.

Fantastic Track Record

Our Reputation speaks for itself, we have the highest number of positive reviews in the area, and always ensure that our patients leave happy with the service and treatment where possible.

Dental Clinic Ballincollig

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