TMJ Syndrome & TMJ Treatment

You may have heard of TMJ Syndrome before, but are you aware of the symptoms and treatment involved with it? TMJ Syndrome is a major issue that can cause extreme discomfort, but with proper TMJ treatment, that pain can be relieved and the issue resolved.

What is TMJ Syndrome?

Your jaw controls a lot more of your actions than you may realize, and plays a role in talking, chewing, and yawning. The connection between your skull’s temporal bones and your jaw is called the temporomandibular joint and it gives you the mobility you need to eat and speak. It should be no surprise that problems with this joint can be painful and inconvenient. 

Everyone has 2 temporomandibular joints, which are the joints located in front of your left and right ears. TMJ syndrome is a medical problem that is related to the function of this joint. When your teeth aren’t properly aligned with the jaw and to each other, your jaw can easily shift to a new position so that it can compensate for the misalignment. This area can become inflamed along with the muscles associated with the joint. The inflammation in the surrounding muscles can manifest as tension in the temples, neck, and shoulders. This painful set of symptoms is known as TMJ disorder.

The conflict between your jaw joints and the teeth’s biting surfaces then generates stress on the tendons and muscles of the temporomandibular joint, causing pain, discomfort, and other problems like:

  • Muscular aches
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, face and shoulder pain
  • Aching near the ear
  • Dizziness
  • Buzzing, ringing, or hissing, in the ear
  • Difficulty and pain while chewing
  • Decreased jaw function
  • Locking or clicking in your jaw

Causes of TMJ Syndrome

Unfortunately, anybody can develop the joint disorder, for a wide variety of reasons. The most common reasons include

  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Trauma to the jaw as a result of injury
  • Frequent grinding and clenching of teeth
  • Chronic stress
  • The disc between the jaw joint and its socket have slipped out of place

In a very small number of cases (approximately less than 5 percent), problems arise as a result of a person’s bite or occlusion. This can occur as a result of the teeth growing into a sub-optimal position (thereby they affect the person’s bite) or as a result of orthodontics or braces. It’s important to note that TMJ problems tend to affect more women than men and young and middle-aged adults receive a temporomandibular joint diagnosis more often than older adults or teenagers. Fortunately, TMJ treatment does exist and will help relieve pain and symptoms.

Symptoms

View some of the common symptoms associated with TMJ syndrome.

Common Symptoms

– Headaches
– Ear pain and jaw pain
– Tension in back of the neck
– Tension in the shoulders
– Pain in the eyes or face
– Jaw Pain or tenderness
– Clicking/popping of jaw
– Limited movement in the jaw
– Tooth sensitivity
– Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Diagnosis

How will Dr. Rocci diagnose your symptoms as TMJ syndrome?
Dr. Rocci will ask you about your symptoms and examine your teeth and tooth alignment to determine the cause of your discomfort or inflammation.

TMJ symptoms can be confused with something as simple as a cavity, or as complex as a head or neck problem. From there, a TMJ treatment plan will be developed.

Treatment

What TMJ treatment options are available to relieve the symptoms?
Appliance Therapy uses a splint to alleviate pressure from jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding, diminishing the force that causes the pain and inflammation in the TM joint and surrounding muscles. Misalignment of teeth can cause the clenching and tension that leads to TMJ disorder symptoms. Dr. Rocci will perform Tooth Adjustment Therapy to regain the proper balance.

TMJ Treatment Information and How we can Help

Dr. Rocci will use specialized equipment to identify problems in the bite, jaw joints, and muscles, before planning your TMJ Treatment. He will assess the symptoms you are experiencing so that he can diagnosis and confirm the problems. Once he confirms the diagnosis, he will recommend noninvasive TMJ treatments that will help ease the stress on the joints and start the healing process which can take some time.

If the tests performed have shown that pain is due to a bite problem, he will recommend therapy like dental splint therapy which will prevent bruxism (the clenching of teeth) or prevent stress on the joint by pushing the jaw forward –allowing it to relax and start the natural healing process.

Depending on the severity of problems the dentist may recommend a night guard, physical manipulation of the jaw muscles using massage therapy techniques, nerve stimulation procedures, injections, surgery or a combination of all the above. The following are TMJ treatment options that are available at Gateshead Dental:

Appliance Therapy

Before any changes are made to the structure of the teeth, a temporary orthotic appliance (splint) greatly relieves symptoms and helps to establish a proper bite. You will have to wear the appliance for a few months, resulting in gently and slowly adjusting the way your lower jaw moves and meets your upper jaw. The splints make it difficult for you to clench or grind your teeth. They take pressure off the jaw muscles and joints and so that they can heal and relax.

As your jaw slowly modifies its movement, the dentist will modify the splint accordingly until the optimum bite is established. Once the temporomandibular joint pain is resolved with optimum bite established and muscle spasms relieved this position has to be held with permanent adjustment for the temporomandibular joint condition not to relapse. If the splint causes or increases your pain, you should stop using it and contact our clinic right away.

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Tooth Adjustment Therapy

This TMJ treatment involves adjusting your teeth and may consist of:

  • Fitting bridges or crowns
  • Reshaping enamel
  • Going through orthodontic work so as to re-align your teeth

A successful TMJ treatment requires experience and advanced training in restorative dentistry. Dr. Rocci has successfully treated patients for more than 30 years and is well aware of how our teeth and jaw function.  

Begin Your TMJ Treatment Today!

With the technologies and techniques of neuromuscular dentistry, we can help you achieve a healthier bite, more comfortable jaw joints and muscles, and a beautiful smile. Our dentistry uses a holistic approach when diagnosing patients to understand the root cause of problems and prevent them from reoccurring. Dr. Rocci will work with you to find the cause of your ear pain, jaw pain, headaches and other symptoms and develop the proper course of action to help you heal. If you think you may benefit from the TMJ treatment, you should schedule an appointment with Gateshead Dental today.

Now Accepting New Patients!

905-664-5555