Tempormandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ / TMD) is a common condition affecting the joint of the jaw. Some symptoms of TMJ include severe headaches, jaw pain, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that an orthodontist can treat.
TMJ symptoms can be painful and debilitating, and our orthodontists want to help you feel better! At our Upper West Side dentist office, we will start by alleviating your pain. Then the orthodontist will diagnose the cause of the TMJ disorder and create a personalized treatment plan.
Reasons for treating TMJ
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth. It is possible for the orthodontist to realign the bite without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. Once the bite is realigned to its most natural, comfortable position, the pain and other symptoms should lessen.
Many TMJ sufferers grind their teeth at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth, possibly leading to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. In addition, stress can aggravate the TMJ symptoms, resulting in worsened jaw, neck, and head pain. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
What does treating TMJ involve?
The orthodontist begins with thoroughly examining the jaw area & the bite, taking x-rays, and reviewing the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
After the diagnosis, there are multiple approaches the orthodontist might take to alleviate your TMJ symptoms. For patients who grind their teeth, the orthodontist might prescribe a bite guard to wear at night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the orthodontist if your TMJ disorder is caused by misalignment. The orthodontist can also recommend relaxation techniques which can lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the orthodontist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
A better option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely by realigning the bite. In addition to alleviating TMJ symptoms, realignment can also provide cosmetic benefits. The treatment involves adjusting the relationship between the upper and lower teeth and jaw. This may require new restorations or adjustments of the natural teeth as well. As with any procedure, the orthodontist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our Upper West Side dentist office at (212)799-5310.