What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is a serious but common concern. TMJ disorder, also called TMD, occurs when there is dysfunction of the jaw joint. This can be caused by overuse or an imbalance in the musculoskeletal system. TMJ issues often arise because the jaw joints aren’t in the correct position, which is quite common and can be treated in the most conservative of ways. Treatment for TMD varies depending on your needs, but the goal should be to address the underlying source of the issue. Our skillful dentists offer the latest treatment options to help address this concern.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?
Symptoms of TMD vary and may include pain, popping sounds when opening or shutting the jaw, difficulty eating or speaking, headaches, or other concerns. Grinding and clenching the teeth can be symptoms or causes of TMD. Some other potential symptoms include:
- Jaw clicking/popping
- A feeling of numbness in the arms/fingers
- Chronic facial pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain in the shoulders, neck, and/or back
If you notice these behaviors or effects, you should promptly tell your dentist.
TMJ Disorder Treatment Options
Due to the wide array of symptoms that could indicate TMJ disorder or another concern, it’s important to have an extensively trained dentist evaluate your issues to determine if TMD is to blame or if there may be another condition involved. Fortunately, if you do have TMD, there are many effective treatment options available. Some of the most common therapies used to address TMD are:
- Occlusal Equilibration—This involves a detailed examination of your “bite,” how your teeth come together and how your jaw functions. In many cases, TMJ disorder can be alleviated by addressing misalignment of the teeth (with Invisalign® or another teeth-straightening system). Sometimes porcelain veneers, teeth polishing, or other corrections may be recommended as a result of this examination.
- Medication—Stress, discomfort, and other factors can contribute to TMJ disorder. Medication can help address these issues or be used to alleviate pain caused by the condition.
- Customized Oral Appliances—Mouthguards and nightguards can reduce pain and damage caused by teeth clenching and grinding during the day, while you sleep, or both.
- Restorative and Reconstructive Dentistry—Irregularities of the bite may be addressed by correcting damage, replacing worn restorations, or utilizing orthodontic appliances.
- Bite and Jaw Therapies—There are several non-surgical therapies that can be used to minimize the effects of TMD and treat this condition. One example is BOTOX® injections, which can be used to halt excess muscle movement that contributes to TMJ disorder.
How do I choose a dentist for TMJ disorder treatment?
Most dentists receive only minimal instruction in TMJ disorder during dental school and must complete additional training to be able to accurately diagnose and treat this condition. If you believe you may have TMD, we recommend selecting a dentist who is in the process of or who has completed continuing education courses in TMJ disorder treatment and achieving functional occlusion. Dr. Bryan Stimmler makes every effort to remain at the forefront of his field, including participating in TMJ treatment courses, to provide unparalleled, patient-focused care. His dedication to continued learning is designed to give you a safer, and more comfortable, experience from start to finish.
Would you like to learn more? Talk to our team about your questions and concerns today, and we will help you schedule a consultation at a time that’s convenient for you.