If you experience jaw pain and issues opening and closing your mouth, you may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). The temporomandibular joint is the most used joint in your body and is located where the lower jaw meets the base of the skull. This joint allows you to talk and chew comfortably. But, this joint can be misaligned or overextended, resulting in serious problems.
At Rockland Dental Specialists, we evaluate your TMJ and will recommend non-surgical treatment or will refer you to a TMJ surgeon. Our understanding and highly skilled specialists work with you throughout the entire process to develop the best solution for you. We prioritize your health and comfort in our upscale offices and do everything we can to make the process as stress-free as possible.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
TMJ disorder often occurs when you overextend your jaw. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, this issue is quite common, with as many as 10 million Americans having some form of it. TMJ disorder could result from several causes, including the following:
- Stress and anxiety
- Grinding your teeth
- Trauma to the jaw or TMJ
- Muscle spasms
- Jaw misalignment
While this disorder has many at-home treatments, you may need to see a dentist depending on the severity of the damage and the symptoms. Our professional team can examine your mouth and jaw and determine the best path forward.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
While TMJ disorder involves the jaw, it can affect many parts of your mouth and face, causing significant discomfort and difficulty in carrying out basic tasks. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include the following:
- Difficulty opening and closing mouth
- Jaw pain or fatigue
- Pain when touching your jaw
- Asymmetrical jaw opening
- Jaw locking or swelling
- Earaches or ringing in the ears
- Uneven jaw movements
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see one of our specialists to develop a treatment plan for you, which could include exercises to do at home, physical therapy, or surgery.
How is TMJ Treated?
After a TMJ disorder diagnosis, you have several treatment options to alleviate your discomfort. Our specialists may suggest specific treatments depending on your case. Typical TMJ treatments include the following:
Mild to moderate TMJ disorder cases can be treated with jaw exercises and lifestyle changes. Many of these suggestions involve reducing jaw movement in the following ways:
- Not chewing gum
- Not tensing your jaw
- Eating soft foods
We may also suggest mild jaw stretching and massaging around the painful areas in conjunction with jaw rest to ease your symptoms. You can also apply ice and heat to ease discomfort. After consulting with you about your symptoms, we can come up with a treatment routine for you to complete at home.
If a pre-existing condition caused your TMJ disorder, you might require more specific and customized treatment. For instance, if your TMJ resulted from teeth grinding, we can make you a mouth guard to help stop it. In other cases, TMJ occurs due to degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Treatments for this issue may include steroid injections. These injections may permanently resolve the problem, but they could only be temporary, depending on your case.
In severe cases of TMJ, surgery may be necessary to bring movement back to the jaw. Sometimes the joint itself or the muscles around it have damage that prevents them from functioning properly. Surgery may be needed to repair the damage in these cases where the joint itself is the issue. We may need to replace the entire joint if the restriction is severe and the symptoms are long-lasting.
Get More Information About TMJ from the Experienced Providers at Rockland Dental Specialists in New York
If you have mild to moderate TMJ, your discomfort could go away in a few months. If you have a more severe case, however, it can require more in-depth treatment. Regardless of the severity of your symptoms, you should see our caring specialists to better understand your condition and the best treatment for your TMJ disorder.
Our unmatched providers at Rockland Dental Specialists in New York do everything they can to make the TMJ disorder diagnosis and treatment as comfortable as possible by prioritizing your health and safety. We understand this process can be overwhelming, so we provide open and honest communication every step of the way so you always know what to expect. Give us a call at (845) 809-0109 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.