Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorders can be the cause of chronic and excruciating pain. This joint is located just in front of both of your ears and connects your bottom jaw with your skull. The TMJ a hinge joint that allows you to open and close your mouth, speak, and chew. We often have patients experiencing TMJ pain who come in due to soreness in their jaw or headaches. This page will tell you some of the disorders associated with the TMJ. If you have found this page and are looking for TMJ Treatments, go straight to scheduling a free consultation with our front desk.
How Do I Know If I Have TMJ Disorder?
Do the muscles in your face feel tight and/or tired? Does your jaw constantly feel sore when you bite down or chew? When you open your mouth and extend your jaw downward, do you hear a clicking, grinding, or popping sound? When you touch the outer area of your TMJ, do they feel sensitive or tender? Does one or both of your ears ache? If so, it is possible that you could be suffering from what is commonly referred to as TMJ. While each case depends on multiple factors, a consultation with Dr. Takher will properly determine if TMJ pain is something you are experiencing. Below are some of the symptoms associated with TMJ Disorder.
Discomfort and pain can be in the joint, ear, face, and even the neck and shoulders.
Chewing can be painful to the jaw muscles. Alternatively, you may feel as though you can’t bite down hard on food as you were able to in the past.
If your upper teeth and lower teeth do not come together properly when you close your mouth or try to chew food, this can result in joint discomfort.
Locking of the jaw
Jaw sporadically becomes locked when opened or closed.
Limited jaw movement
Can open mouth partially, but not the full range that you used to or believe you are able to.
- Earache or ringing in the ear
- Facial Muscles feel fatigued
- Facial swelling
- Neck and shoulder pain
These above symptoms are happening because the joint is not functioning as it should. The precise cause of TMJ is unknown and can depend on various factors. Below are some of the commonly known contributing factors that can lead to TMJ pain.
Inflammation of the joint.
Bruxism (grinding of the teeth) & Clenching:
Grinding of the teeth on a regular basis can wear the teeth and ultimately affect a bite. Grinding can also lead to other oral health complications (such as cracked/split teeth) and places stress on the TMJ. Clenching of the teeth places stress on the joint and muscles causing discomfort. Note: If you suffer from bruxism (especially at night), you will want to get a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
The disc that separates the upper and lower parts of the joint can shift out of place and cause the joint to become unbalanced.
Stress can cause tightening of the jaw as well as the facial and neck muscles. Clenching (whether it is done consciously or unconsciously) can sometimes be a result of stress. Other “stress habits” that contribute to the development of TMJ disorders include biting on pens, excessive gum chewing, and nail biting.
In-house CT Scan
The good news is that TMJ is treatable. Dr. Takher has extensive experience and training in diagnosing TMJ disorders. He is able to use the most current dental technology to such as our in-house Cone Beam CT scan to help identify various conditions more accurately. In addition, he will work with you to identify and correct the cause(s) to help you gain relief from TMJ pain once and for all.
TMJ Pain Relief treatment begins with a thorough exam of your teeth and jaw with Dr. Takher. We will take impressions of your teeth, Cone Beam CT Scan, and X-rays. Dr. Takher will ask several questions about your symptoms and examine the joint as you open and close your mouth. We will guide you through a comprehensive set of questions, exams and tests to allow us properly diagnose your condition and to create the ideal treatment plan for you.
Treatment for TMJ may include one or more of the following:
Non-Surgical TMJ Treatments
Joint Exercises (non-surgical)
In some minor cases, there are exercises that you can do to help relieve some of your symptoms, if not all of your symptoms
Medications and Hot/Cold Compresses (non-surgical)
These are used to reduce swelling, relax the muscles, and relieve discomfort.
Neuromuscular Dentistry (non-surgical)
Neuromuscular dentistry refers to techniques used to move the jaw, muscle tissue, soft tissue, and fatty tissue of the face and joint back into their correct position, relieving symptoms and correcting TMJ disorders.
A splint, also referred to as a nightguard, is designed to prevent a person from clenching their teeth. Clenching causes muscle tension and extreme stress on the joint. Splints can also be designed to move the jaw and muscles into their correct position.
Other TMJ Treatments
Bridges, crowns, and/or orthodontic treatment may be needed to adjust how your upper and lower teeth come together. If your teeth do not come together properly when your mouth is closed or when you chew, the joint can’t function properly.
Replace Missing Teeth
When one or more teeth are missing, other teeth shift in the mouth, which as a result alters your bite. Therefore, the joint is also altered and becomes unbalanced. Replacing the missing tooth/teeth is required.
Surgery is reserved for extreme cases of a TMJ disorder. It is only recommended as a last resort when all other treatment options have been attempted without success.
Do You Need TMJ Treatment?
If you are suffering from TMJ disorder and considering options that can help you find pain relief, your first step will be to schedule a consultation with Dr. Amani Takher, DMD.
Call To Schedule Your Appointment (707) 448-6456.