TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders can have a significant impact on your quality of life. When the TMJ or the associated muscles and tendons become stressed, injured or misaligned, it affects your ability to perform regular daily actions and can cause significant discomfort. If you suspect you may have a TMJ disorder we encourage you to contact our office and make an appointment with Dr. Christine Ally. Our dentist and team will work with you to diagnose the problem and determine which type of TMJ treatment will provide you with the best results for your oral health.
Common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Pain in the TMJ and surrounding facial areas
- Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Limited ability to open or move the mouth
- A locked or stuck jaw
- Pain or difficulty when chewing or biting
- Pain and tension in the neck, shoulders or ears
- Sinus or eye pain
- Frequent or unexplained headaches
- Pain on opening or closing the mouth
What is the TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint which connects the lower jaw to the skull. This is the joint that allows your jaw to move so that you can eat, speak, swallow and yawn. It works in conjunction with the muscles of the jaw, head and neck, and is one of the smallest and most complex joints in your body.
What causes TMJ?
Several factors may cause or contribute to a TMJ disorder, including:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
- Injury or trauma
- Stress or anxiety
- Arthritis or another degenerative process
What is orofacial pain?
Orofacial pain is discomfort or pain the areas of the face, head, neck or even the teeth. It is often muscular or neurologic pain in an otherwise normal condition.
What about headaches?
Our dentist can help you determine if your headaches are related to muscle pain, TMJ or orofacial pain. If the headaches are related to the head and neck Dr. Ally can provide treatment to relieve your discomfort and improve your quality of life.
How do you make a diagnosis?
In order to arrive at a diagnosis we must complete a full examination. This exam includes a complete history and a head and neck evaluation as well as any needed X-rays or 3D scans. Once we have all the information, we will be able to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, can occur at any time but is more common during sleep. It is often related to snoring and sleep apnea, and can cause significant damage to your teeth if left untreated. Common signs of bruxism include:
- Tired or tight jaw muscles upon waking
- Audible grinding wounds while asleep
- Morning headaches
- Excessively worn teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that are broken or chipped
- TMJ symptoms
Children may have bruxism or other TMJ symptoms as well as problems with their sleep.
How are TMJ disorders treated?
There are a variety of treatment options available to meet your needs, and our dentist will carefully evaluate your mouth and jaw to determine which type of treatment is best for you. Some treatment options which we may discuss with you include:
- Removable oral appliances
- Physical therapy for the head, neck and jaw
- Medications for pain and inflammation
- Relaxation exercises
- Biofeedback or stress management
- Diet control
- Myofunctional therapy or home exercises
- Referral to other health care providers
When you visit Advanced Sleep & TMJ Center of New Jersey we will discuss behaviors and symptoms of TMJ as well as examine your mouth and jaw to diagnose the problem. After diagnosing your TMJ our dentist will be able to create a customized treatment plan to meet your needs.
Contact us today at 877-652-7632 to schedule your consultation and learn more about TMJ treatment in Little Silver and Red Bank, New Jersey.