Your mouth consists of many important working parts that allow it to perform its many essential functions. Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge at which your lower jaw connects to your skull. It provides for the movements of your jaw, allowing you to eat, speak, and more. When the joint becomes irritated, it can cause you a significant amount of pain and discomfort. Even the most minor movements can cause serious pain. At National Dental East Meadow, our TMJ treatment eases your pain, allowing you to get your life back.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ disorder) covers a broad spectrum of different issues relating to the jaw and the joint itself. It can lead to severe pain that impacts normal functions, such as eating and speaking and can greatly affect your overall quality of life.
There are numerous symptoms that can point to TMJ disorder, and some of them are not all that obvious. In fact, many symptoms have patients believing they have an entirely different issue, so they seek medical, rather than dental, help. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Facial pain.
- Pain while chewing.
- Difficulty opening your mouth.
- Clicking or popping sounds when you move your mouth.
WHAT CAUSES TMJ DISORDER?
There are some different issues that can contribute to TMJ disorder:
- Facial trauma. Whether you are hit in the face, or your jaw becomes temporarily dislocated due to whiplash, even minor facial trauma can lead to serious joint pain.
- Grinding and clenching your teeth. This is an issue known as bruxism, and it often occurs while you sleep, when you have no control over it. The excessive pressures exerted on the jaw muscles exhaust them, causing pain and discomfort.
- Orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth or jaw.
- Sleep apnea (your jaw slides back out of its proper position).
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
DIAGNOSIS OF TMJ DISORDERS
Diagnosing your TMJ disorder also involves figuring out the exact cause of the joint pain. By doing so, we can provide a more effective treatment plan. We start with a visual inspection of the structures visible within your mouth. We look at your teeth and the alignment of your jaw. We also take digital images, so that we can view the internal structures of your mouth. At National Dental, we take advantage of the latest technological developments to help in our diagnosis. The intraoral camera helps us to see inside your mouth, while imaging such as digital X-rays and iCAT 3-dimensional imaging provides us with an inside view.
GETTING RELIEF FROM YOUR TMJ PAIN
The exact treatment for your TMJ disorder depends upon the determined cause. Some patients may find relief with over the counter pain relievers. Most patients, however, require something more:
- Night guard. A night guard is similar to a sports mouth guard. Made from a mold of your mouth, it holds your jaw in proper alignment and provides a cushion when you clench your teeth, alleviating the pressure.
- Botox injections. Botox is commonly associated with cosmetic work, treating fine lines and wrinkles. It can also be used to alleviate TMJ pain. It works by weakening, or relaxing, the muscles in the jaw so that they do not clench with such force.
- Orthodontic work. This is recommended if your teeth and jaw are out of alignment.
- Surgery. Surgery is an invasive procedure and is often reserved for when no other treatment method works.
If you are experiencing significant jaw pain, you may be suffering from TMJ disorder. Contact National Dental East Meadow today at (516) 962-2292 to schedule your consultation!