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TMJ Smithtown, NY
The term TMJ actually refers to the temporomandibular joint in the human jaw. This is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of your skull – acting as a hinge. The TMJ connects the jaw in such a way that it allows for up and down, open and close, and side to side movement. It is also primarily responsible for manipulation of speech, yawning, chewing and language. In some instances, people can experience pain or symptoms with the TMJ that is commonly referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder or TMD
The primary causes of a TMJ disorder (TMD) can be problems with the joint or the jaw muscles attached to the joint. Commonly, injuries to the head, neck or face can all lead to TMD. Other causes of TMJ Disorder include stress, patterns of clenching or grinding teeth (usually at night), and arthritis pain that cause tightening and clenching of jaw muscles or the face.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMD can be pretty painful or even be the cause of a great deal of discomfort. Symptoms that are commonly referred to contributing to TMD are:
- Clicking or popping jaw
- Difficulty opening or closing jaw
- Pain in face, neck or jaw
- Difficulty or pain while chewing
- Pain and tenderness in the face, neck or jaw
- Ringing in ears
- Upper shoulder pain
If you are experiencing jaw pain, contact us for an initial TMJ appointment.
Ask us Anything…
What are my TMJ treatment options?
Over-the-counter medication: We may prescribe the medications to help to relieve the pain or swelling caused by the TMD. We may also suggest exploring lifestyle choices that contribute to relaxing the muscles and decrease instances of clenching or grinding teeth.
Nightguard: One of the most commonly recommended treatments for TMJ Disorder are custom-molded plastic night guards that fit over the lower or upper teeth. They are designed in such a way to prevent subconscious grinding which typically occurs at night. It can also contribute to an improvement in biting form over time and increase airflow at night.
Possible Dental Work: Depending on the case, there may be protruding teeth or crowns/bridges that are contributing to pain in the jaw. This will have to be determined in the office during consultation and testing. In very severe circumstances, we may recommend a surgery with an oral surgeon.
Orthodontic treatment: a misaligned bite, or malocclusion, could be contributing to your jaw pain. Crooked teeth or an irregular bite create traumatic forces which put strain on your jaw joints and cause tooth wear.
For those experiencing TMD and are seeking TMJ Treatment, contact our office for an initial consultation. We will be happy to answer all of your questions and get you on the right path to a life free of jaw pain.
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD/TMJ)
The temporomandibular joint is the only joint in the human face. It connects the skull at the temporal bone, to the mandible – hence the name, temporomandibular. Disorders of the jaw muscles, nerves, and bone are known collectively as temporomandibular disorders or TMD.
The TMJ moves the mandible up, down, and side to side. It helps us talk, chew, and yawn. However, diseases of the TMJ are fairly common – a study showed that four in ten people suffered from joint pain in one form or the other.
TMD can be multifaceted. But don’t worry, at Pearl Dental we conduct thorough examinations to help determine the cause and come up with a simple, yet effective treatment plan!
What Causes TMD?
It’s difficult to rule out a single cause for TMD; the disorder can be brought on by several factors, for example:
- Trauma to the head, jaw, or neck
- Soft tissue injury
- Nerve damage
- Muscle strains
The rest of the causes seem fairly familiar, but what is bruxism? Bruxism is defined as involuntary clenching of the teeth, that is, grinding. Someone who regularly grinds their teeth isn’t necessarily aware of the fact that they do it. However, on clinical examination, the biting surface of their teeth is relatively flat.
When Should You Go See A Dentist?
A TMJ examination is a typical mainstay in routine dental examinations. Your dentist has probably caught on to an existing TMD. However, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while – which you really should – you might want to consider going in for an examination if you have any of the following signs:
- A throbbing headache; typically after waking up in the morning
- Clicking noises when you open or close your mouth
- Limited mobility in the jaw
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
- Pain during chewing
What Are The Different Types Of TMD?
There are three main types of TMD:
Associated with myofascial pain – The most common form of TMD. The pain stems from the fascia, the connective tissue overlying the muscles of the jaw, as well as the muscles controlling the jaw movement itself.
Internal derangement – Problems with the internal anatomy of the joint itself; the disc and the bone.
Degenerative joint disease – TMD caused by arthritis; osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment Options For TMD
Treatment options for TMDs can range from fairly straightforward, and simplistic ones to invasive surgical procedures.
Here are a list of treatment options for TMD:
- Behavioral changes to stop clenching
- Splint to keep from involuntary clenching
- Pain relievers
- Stress management
- Hot compresses to ease swelling
- Soft diet
- Posture change
Can Stress Cause TMD?
Stress can, in fact, cause TMD! Some people tend to clench their teeth or bite their nails when they’re stressed. This inadvertently causes muscle strain and leads to TMD. The solution? Break the habit!
Here’s a fun little tid-bit: Stress has been linked to well over a hundred medical and dental ailments.
Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, TMJ or TMD can range from mild pain to throbbing headaches that can keep you up at night. TMD can be difficult to diagnose, but simple enough to treat.
While there are invasive treatments, they’re reserved for severely traumatic cases. Most TMD can be resolved with physical therapy, simple appliances, and a few therapeutics.
For a simple yet effective treatment plan, contact us at Pearl Dental Clinic!
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