Temporomandibular Joint Disorder TMJD
Here at Jupiter Dentistry, our experienced and knowledgeable dentists, Drs. Joseph Russo and Jay Ajmo, can accurately and easily diagnose your TMJ disorder, and determine the most effective treatment for your condition.
What is TMJ?
The acronym “TMJ” refers to the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, and it is located just below and in front of the ear on either side of your head. It is this joint that is responsible for several functions that involve the use of your mouth. The hinge action of the jaw allows you to open and close your jaw, such as when yawning, while the drop and forward motion of the jaw helps you to bite, chew, and even speak properly.
Like all joints, the temporomandibular joint can be adversely affected by trauma, overuse, or age-related degeneration, which can compromise its ability to function properly. When this happens, it is known as TMJ disorder, although many people still refer to it as TMJ. Unfortunately, symptoms almost always get worse over time, and so prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential.
Causes of TMJ
The development of TMJ can be attributed to a range of different things, although in some cases the cause is never fully established. Some of the most common contributing factors to TMJ include:
Bruxism. Patients with this extremely common condition unconsciously clench or grind their teeth. This places excess force on the jaw.
- An uneven bite. Few of us have naturally perfect bites. However, having an imperfect bite can cause an imbalance of pressure that causes TMJ disorder.
- Loss of one or more teeth causing drifting of remaining teeth. Consequently, the bite shifts causing an imbalance in the bite and uneven pressures on the temporomandibular jaw joint.
- Periodontal disease resulting in loss of bone that supports the teeth. Bone loss results in teeth that move or drift. Ultimately the bite is constantly changing placing uneven pressures on the jaw joint.
Medical conditions. Underlying conditions which may affect the health of the joints, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis can cause TMJ disorder.
Stress. Stress can cause a patient to subconsciously tighten or clench their jaw, placing pressure on the TMJ, leading to TMJ disorder.
Although the exact reason is unknown, women are also more likely to develop TMJ, particularly during their childbearing years.
Symptoms of TMJ
If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, you may not initially notice any symptoms. However, over time, one or more of the following indications of the condition may be experienced:
- Pain in the jaw and face
- Tenderness or pain in the masseter or chewing muscles on each side of the face
- Pain in the front of the ear, which may appear to spread throughout your auditory system, and present itself in your cheek and/or temple
- An inability to open the mouth very wide
- Pain when yawning
- Regular headaches
- Waking up with a headache
- Regular earaches
- Waking up with earaches
Tinnitus or ringing in the hear
A sensation like your ear is partially blocked and won't clear
A popping, clicking or grinding noise when you open and close your mouth, particularly when performing exaggerated movements such as yawning
Swelling in your face and jaw, particularly in front of the ears
Difficulty in opening and closing your mouth
If you believe that you are suffering from TMJ disorder, you should seek advice from our experienced dentists at Jupiter Dentistry as soon as possible.
Treatment for TMJ
Treatment for TMJ disorder tends to require a selection of different therapies, some of which are performed in combination with one another to help you achieve the most effective result.
Non-surgical TMJ Treatments
We will almost always recommend non-surgical therapies first. Many of these treatments have proven to be extremely successful in treating mild to moderate TMJ. Some of the most common non-surgical treatments include:
Bite guards. At Jupiter Dentistry, we offer custom-made bite guards that are worn over the teeth while you sleep, protecting your teeth and jaw from the damage caused by bruxism. We might also suggest an occlusal equilibration which involves adjusting the bite so the teeth meet evenly all the way around the arch. (splint to help with nighttime biting and clenching.)
hot/cold compression on the joint to reduce swelling and inflammation, which in turn helps alleviate pain.
Oral medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), pain relief, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and muscle relaxants.
Manual manipulation. This works much in the same way as chiropractic care does, gently manipulating the joint to reduce stiffness and enable better movement.
- Massage therapy to the jaw joints, neck, shoulders & temporal region of the head.
Oftentimes a patient may require dental restoration to re-establish a balanced occlusion or bite. Teeth naturally wear down over time depending on chewing patterns, habits of biting hard or abrasive objects, or simply eating normal meals. Older dentistry also has a tendency to crack and chip over time. This normal pattern of breakdown of the biting surfaces of teeth lead to a gradual change in the bite pattern. Dental restoration involves rebuilding teeth to proper dimensions and function which allows us to re-establish a properly balanced bite. Dental restoration may involve crowns, bridgework or possibly even dental implants. The ultimate goal is to build a solid stable bite that allows the jaw joints to function properly so in most cases all pain and discomfort in the jaws is eliminated.
Surgical TMJ treatment
If non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful and do not provide sufficient relief from TMJ symptoms, we may recommend you for bite realignment surgery. A poorly positioned bite is a common cause of TMJ and improving this can drastically improve the symptoms associated with this condition.
Realignment surgeries are always performed under anesthetic and tailored to your individual condition. If our team decides that bite realignment surgery is the best course of action to relieve your TMJ disorder, we will arrange a comprehensive consultation with you to discuss your options.
At Jupiter Dentistry, our experienced and knowledgeable dentists have helped countless patients find relief from TMJ disorder. To find our more about this condition, or to arrange a consultation with us, contact our Palm Beach Gardens Offices on 561-575-5599 today.
Schedule Your Consultation
We can help you find relief. It’s not worth it to live life in pain, not when a solution is so accessible and affordable. Remember, your health and wellbeing are the number one priority. It’s time to live life in comfort.
Contact us to schedule your consultation with the team at Jupiter Dentistry. We will take care of you by giving you the medical attention you need in state-of-the-art facilities that are built around you. Benefit from top-of-the-line care without having to worry about your budget. Contact our staff in Jupiter, FL by emailing or calling us at 5612500995.