Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) or Facial Pain is a common condition affecting many people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a qualified dental specialist can treat effectively.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of our practice, so pain relief is our first priority. We are able able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Reasons for treating TMJ
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to headaches, neck pain and dizziness.
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for us to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness. The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. Once the painful symptoms are under control, we can show you how to perform simple home care measures to maintain and improve the relief we've achieved for you.
It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit us for an exact diagnosis, elimination of the causes and long term relief.
What does treating TMJ involve?
TMJ could be a result of several different problems. Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage in the jaw joint is also a possibility. Initially, we will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient's bite using computerized technology, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis using specialized computer techniques may be recommended. This will allow us to precisely adjust the bite to a normal, pain free position. We can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, we may prescribe muscle relaxants, to aid in your comfort while the muscles and ligaments of the TMJ are resuming their normal structure and function.
The most successful approach is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the lower teeth come together with the upper teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one we have performed with great success numerous times. As with any procedure, we will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of headache/TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.