TMJ Treatment Edison, Metuchen, & South Plainfield, NJ
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the rest of your skull. To talk, chew, or simply yawn you need the joint to function correctly. When it doesn’t you have a temporomandibular disorder (TMJ or TMD). Any TMJ is basically a problem with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it.
TMJ can be mild, activating only when biting into hard pieces of food and shooting pain through the jaw joint. Or it can be severe, such as when simply opening your mouth causes pain. For obvious reasons, TMJ can be very debilitating.
At Gentle Dental, we are often the first line in treating TMJ, as patients incorrectly think the pain is a result of a problem with a tooth. Other patients may first seek out an ear nose throat (ENT) specialist as their symptoms lead them to believe they could have an ear infection.
What is TMJ?
Gentle Dental Care’s dental facilities in Edison, NJ are equipped and ready to provide locals with TMJ therapy. Temporomandibular Joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) are a group of conditions that result in pain and compromised the function of the jaw joint and the muscles that are responsible for jaw movement. In mild cases, biting through hard pieces of food makes the pain shoot through the jaw joint, which can be terribly irritating. For severe TMJ disorders, even eating or talking create so much pain that it becomes debilitating.
TMJ therapies are treatments that seek to eliminate the cause of pain and tightness in the jaw joint. Whenever you have pain caused by the simple function of your temporomandibular joint, this would be considered a temporomandibular disorder. As this joint is critical to everything from talking to eating, pain associated with it can seriously impact your life. Unfortunately, many people don’t bring up their issues with TMJ pain when in our offices, thinking it is not a dental problem.
You might consider seeing a dentist check for TMJ disorder if you experience any pain while chewing, if you feel any pain in the jaw, in the neck or face. Also, TMJ therapy might be recommended for a jaw that locks, or if you feel any painful clicking or popping in that area. TMJ disorders are usually caused by pressure caused by too much grinding and clenching of the teeth, dislocation of the disc and soft cushion between the ball and socket, and cases of osteoarthritis in the TMJ.
What are the types of TMJ treatments?
Usually, when TMJ disorders present itself as pain in the jaw, patients in Edison NJ would consult with their dentist first. But for less obvious symptoms like headaches, ringing in the ear and neck pain, some residents consult with an EENT since they suspect this might be due to an ear infection. There are 2 types of TMJ therapy, surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Most cases of TMJ are treated by non-surgical methods. These treatments do not cure TMJ disorders but just help alleviate the pain to restore normal function. Your dentist might suggest trying out other treatments before resorting to surgical TMJ therapy.
These are some of our TMJ treatments at Gentle Dental Care:
- Using a bite splint. We create a custom-fit bite splint. This is a plastic mouth guard that is placed over your upper or lower teeth to make them slide smoothly against each other, instead of clenching. This relieves pressure on the joint and stops the corresponding pain.
- Physical therapy. We employ methods to help you overcome the muscle clenching. This may involve biofeedback and stretching exercises.
- Ultrasound. Deep heat can be applied to the joint.
- Radio wave energy. Radio waves stimulate the joint.
- Laser therapy. Laser energy can lower pain and inflammation, allowing a greater range of motion.
- Medication. Prescribing anti-inflammatory medications helps to reduce the pain, but also to reduce the inflamed muscles that are restricting jaw movement. Other options may be anti-anxiety medications or muscle relaxers.
- Botox. This famous wrinkle reducer works by stopping muscles from contracting. It has proven effective in some TMJ cases.
If these and other options are exhausted, the Gentle Dental team may recommend surgery. There are various procedures that can be performed depending on the severity of your problem. It is important that you consult your dentist so that a personalized treatment plan can be planned for you.
What Are causes?
TMJ/TMD disorders are still somewhat of a mystery to the medical world. Dentists believe most issues arise from muscles that move the joint and from problems with the joint parts. Possible causes are pressure from too much grinding and clenching of the teeth, dislocation of the disc and soft cushion between the ball and socket of the joint, and osteoarthritis in the joint.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
Though finding the exact cause of TMJ pain can be challenging, these are some of the common symptoms associated with the condition:
- Problems when you attempt to open your mouth wide
- Pain in your face, jaw joint area, neck, and shoulder, or around your ears when you use your jaw
- Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth or chew
- Jaws that lock or get stuck when open or closed
- Trouble chewing or an uncomfortable bite, with the feeling that your jaws are misaligned
- Swelling on the side of your face
- A tired feeling on your face
Other symptoms can involve headaches, toothaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing issues, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Gentle Dental Care in Edison, NJ to be treated.
What is the cost of treating TMJ?
There is no set cost for TMJ treatment because every case is different. Solutions such as molding a bite splint are inexpensive. Physical therapy costs depend on a patient’s insurance. Medications are the same. Obviously, surgery, if necessary, is the most costly treatment option. The team at Gentle Dental will discuss your treatment options and their corresponding costs with you.
Read more about TMJ on our blog!
Contact Gentle Dental Care today or visit us in Edison, New Jersey to begin and learn more about TMJ treatment in Piscataway Township, New Brunswick, Metuchen, or Woodbridge Township, NJ.