Do you suffer from frequent jaw or tooth pain? Do you often wake up with a sore jaw or headaches? You may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD. When the temporomandibular joints which connect the jawbone to the skull are injured, this can cause pain in the jaw joint and muscles. Dr. Ned Greenberg provides TMJ treatment to help patients with facial pain as well as other painful symptoms caused by TMJ.
TMJ disorders can be caused by accidents to the jaw, as well as wear and tear from years of clenching teeth during sleep. If there is no pain from any injury or damage to the bones in the mouth, then it is most likely that a TMJ disorder has developed into chronic pain.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?
TMJ disorders are a set of conditions caused by a disorder of the teeth and jaw. There can be a great variety of symptoms, but some common ones include pain on both sides of the face, difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide, headaches or earaches, clicking sounds when opening the mouth or moving the jaw, and limited range of motion.
There are many more common symptoms of TMJ to look out for, including:
- Jaw pain
- Teeth clenching and grinding
- Aching facial pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw clicking or locking
- Chronic headaches
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Jaw tenderness
- Muscle spasms
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, contact Dr. Greenberg immediately for care. It is important to receive restorative dental treatment for TMJ as soon as possible in order to prevent symptoms from worsening over time.
Treating TMJ Disorders at our Dentist Office
Generally speaking, TMJ treatments can be broken up into two basic categories: conservative treatments and surgical treatments. Conservative treatments are often preferred by patients who want to avoid surgery for whatever reason. These treatments can be less expensive than surgical procedures in some cases because they do not require hospitalization or anesthesia. However, they do not always produce lasting results since there is no guarantee that they will eliminate all symptoms of TMJ pain and discomfort.
Surgical procedures for TMJ treatment are more invasive than conservative treatments but can offer more definitive outcomes in some cases. We usually only recommend TMJ surgery when conservative remedies have proven ineffective.
There are several options to alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorders at home and in our dental office:
Patients with mild symptoms of TMJ benefit from care in the comfort of their own homes. Some treatments for mild TMJ symptoms include:
- Relaxing the facial muscles
- Jaw exercises
- Eating soft foods to rest the jaw
- Sleeping on your side
- Using an ice pack on the jaw
If your TMJ pain worsens, call Dr. Greenberg. He will help recommend the appropriate treatment for your symptoms.
Patients with misaligned teeth are more prone to developing TMJ. Misaligned teeth create an uneven bite which exacerbates TMJ pain. Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners to straighten teeth over time. However, Invisalign is not the best option for patients who clench and grind their teeth as a result of TMJ.
Oral appliances are similar to mouthguards and cover and protect teeth from bruxism. This treatment can be worn overnight to take the pressure off of the jaw. Oral appliances also help patients who suffer from teeth clenching and grinding.
TMJ Disorder FAQs
How can I prevent TMJ disorders?
TMJ disorders are caused by an improper jaw position. We can prevent TMJ disorders by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We have to maintain a healthy diet, work in an ergonomic posture, avoid chewing gum or biting nails, and learn how to stop clenching our teeth at night. Sleep on your back, facing up, to avoid making TMJ issues worse.
What is the best TMJ treatment?
You should not determine the best TMJ treatment for you without consulting your dentist first. There are various types of treatments for this condition, and each one has its pros and cons for each individual.
For instance, treating TMJ with a mouthguard may be better than using cream because it is less invasive and easier to keep up with. It also gets the same results as some other treatments such as TENS or Botox injections.
Can TMJ go away on its own without medical treatment?
The answer to this question is not that simple. There are many factors that contribute to the development of TMJ. Some of these factors are muscle tension, bruxism, arthritis in the mandible, stress, misalignment in the bite, and myofascial pain syndrome.
TMJ is not a life-threatening condition but it can be painful and restrict movement. If left untreated, TMJ can lead to more serious problems in the body including headaches, neck pain, hearing loss, and vision disturbances.
Address Your TMJ Issues Today
Do you have any of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders? Call Dr. Greenberg at 410.686.4646 or request a dental exam with him online. Dr. Greenberg serves dental patients in Essex and the surrounding areas in Baltimore County.