You may have heard of Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ), but are you aware of the symptoms and treatment involved with it? TMJ Syndrome is a set of symptoms that begin in the upper and lower jaw and radiates outward, often involving discomfort in the head, neck, and shoulders. It is a major issue that can cause extreme discomfort, but with proper TMJ treatment by a TMJ dentist, the pain can be relieved and the issue resolved.
Temporomandibular Jaw Problems
TMJ problems generally fall into 3 categories:
Myofascial pain: this is the most common kind of TMJ that`s discomfort in the shoulder, jaw or neck muscles
Internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint: can involve a displaced disc within the temporomandibular joint, a dislocated jaw or injury to the condyles (this involves the round ends of the lower jaw which fit into the jaw joint)
Degenerative joint disease: similar to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the temporomandibular joint
Most problems can be resolved by a TMJ dentist through TMJ treatment. Nevertheless, degenerative joint disease and internal derangements might require the additional involvement of a medical doctor. Without working jaw joints, you will not be able to chew, speak, swallow or close and open your mouth. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in any of the areas mentioned above, you should seek medical advice from your dentist and doctor as soon as you can.
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 the joint can be painful and inconvenient. These disorders are often called TMD Disorders, and TMJ Syndrome is among those.
Everyone has 2 temporomandibular joints, located close to the front of our ears – there is one on the left side of the head and one on the right. TMJ syndrome is a medical problem that is related to the function of the jaw joint. When your teeth aren’t in proper relation to the joints and to each other, your jaw can easily shift to a new position so that it can compensate for the misalignment.
The conflict between the 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:
WIth over 35 years of dental experience, Dr. Rocci takes a holistic approach to treating TMJ disorder. He 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.
Unfortunately, anybody can develop TMJ for a wide variety of reasons. The most common reasons include:
Arthritis in the jaw joints
Trauma to the joint as a result of an injury
Frequent grinding and clenching of teeth
The disc between the jaw joint and its socket slipping out of place
In a very small number of cases (approximately less than 5 percent), TMJ problems arise as a result of a problem with 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 diagnosis more often than older adults or teenagers.
The successful treatment of TMJ problems requires a TMJ dentist with the experience and advanced training in the function and biology of the jaw and complex restorative dentistry, which Dr. Rocci has.
Treating TMJ Syndrome
Our TMJ dentist will use specialized advanced 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 TMJ problems. Once he confirms the diagnosis, he will recommend noninvasive treatments that will help ease the stress on your jaw joint and start the healing process which can take some time.
If the tests the dentist has 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 joints by pushing the jaw forward –allowing it to relax and start the natural healing process.
Depending on the severity of the problem, 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 TMJ treatment options are available:
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, and gently and slowly adjusts 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 muscles and joints and so that they can heal and relax.
As your jaw slowly modifies its movement, Dr. Rocci will modify the splint accordingly until the optimum bite is established. Once the 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 TMJ pain, you should stop using it and contact our clinic right away.
Tooth Adjustment Therapy
The dentist will adjust your teeth so that you can maintain your new bite. This may consist of:
Fitting bridges or crowns
Going through orthodontic work so as to realign your teeth
A successful treatment requires experience and advanced training in restorative dentistry. Dr. Rocci has successfully treated patients with TMJ Syndrome for more than 30 years and is well aware of how the teeth and jaw function.
Begin Your Treatment With a TMJ Dentist Today!
With the technologies and techniques of neuromuscular dentistry, we can help you achieve a healthier bite, comfortable jaw joints and muscles, and a beautiful smile. Our TMJ dentist uses a holistic approach when diagnosing patients to understand the root cause of problems and prevent them from reoccurring. If you think you may benefit from the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ, you should schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Rocci today. Contact Gateshead Dental to learn more about TMJ Syndrome and TMJ Treatment before getting started!