TMJ & TMD Treatment in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island
What is TMD?
TMD (aka TMJ), which is short for temporomandibular disorder, is a jaw problem that is characterized by chronic aching or pain in the joints that are found just below your ears. These joints are what connect your jawbone to your skull, allowing you to freely move your mouth, chew your food, and talk. When people experience TMJ, they may feel pain that is so severe they can no longer do these normal tasks without experiencing chronic pain or discomfort. It’s important to visit a dentist who has a strong background in treating patients with TMJ before the condition progresses to the point of causing you more severe pain.
What is the main cause of TMJ?
TMJ pain could be the result of a traumatic injury or another issue that causes prolonged stress on the jaw joints. Some of the most common causes of TMJ include the following:
- Grinding teeth (bruxism)
- Clenching the jaw
- Chewing gums
- TMJ arthritis
- Poor posture
- Teeth misalignment
- Jaw misalignment
- Tooth injuries
- Jaw injuries
Can TMJ be caused by stress?
TMJ could be the result of chronic stress or anxiety. In some cases, people who have intense stress or anxiety might begin clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth while they are asleep. This may occur without the person realizing, as it often happens during deep sleep. Often, these people do not know that they are clenching or grinding until they visit a doctor who has confirmed TMJ due to stress. In other cases, a person could notice a sore jaw, aching jawline, or chips in their teeth from grinding (also known as bruxism).
What does TMJ pain feel like?
Those who have temporomandibular joint syndrome often notice one or more of the following symptoms of TMJ:
- Clicking in the jaw
- Popping noises in the jaw joint
- Popping noises in the ears
- Jaw soreness
- Jaw pain
- Jaw stiffness
- Temple pain
- Jaw locking
Can TMJ go away on its own?
Depending on the underlying cause of TMJ syndrome, it could go away once the underlying condition is resolved. For example, if a person is suffering from stress-related TMJ, they may notice improvements in their jaw pain once the stress has been resolved. In addition, TMJ pain could resolve with conservative interventions, like physical therapy, counseling, or a night guard retainer to protect your teeth from grinding.
What will happen if TMJ is not treated?
When TMJ syndrome goes untreated for a long period of time, it could cause complications and other health issues to emerge. For example, untreated TMJ as a result of long-term tooth grinding can lead to chipped teeth and more severe dental problems over time. Chronic TMJ could also lead to chronic and debilitating headaches, which disrupt your everyday life. It could even interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, TMJ disorder could lead to worsened stress and anxiety.
As soon as you notice symptoms of TMJ, it’s important to speak with your dentist about a treatment option that will work for you. Unfortunately, the longer TMJ goes untreated, the more challenging it could be to treat. Those who have suffered from TMJ long-term may have additional dental complications that make treatment more difficult and complicated.
Does TMJ get worse over time?
In many cases, TMJ could worsen or cause complications over time. Instead of waiting for your TMJ symptoms to worsen, get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible to have your symptoms evaluated, receive an accurate diagnosis, and learn about all of your treatment options.
How do you prevent TMJ from getting worse?
There are several things you can do at home to prevent TMJ from worsening while you are waiting to visit your doctor. You may find relief from by trying these TMJ home remedies:
- Gentle jaw exercises to promote healing
- Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications
- Heat therapy (heated water bottle or hot towel)
- Cold therapy (ice packs or cold towel)
- Sleeping on your side
- Relaxing your facial muscles whenever possible
- Eating soft foods to prevent overuse of the jaw muscles
Is ice or heat better for TMJ?
Both ice and heat therapies can offer relief from TMJ headaches or TMJ pain. Refer to your dentist’s recommended treatment option for your TMJ relief. If you haven’t seen your dentist yet, you can try alternating between heat and ice therapy for TMJ to see which helps relieve your pain the most effectively.
What are the best treatments for TMJ?
If you’re suffering from TMJ, visit a certified dentist for a temporomandibular jaw disorder, who can offer you one of the following treatment options:
- TMJ pain relief medication
- Certain antidepressants for bruxism control
- Muscle relaxers for TMJ pain
- Physical therapy for jaw pain
- TMJ counseling
- Occlusal appliances (mouth guards for teeth grinding)
- Corticosteroid injections for jaw joint
- Minimally-invasive arthrocentesis
- Arthroscopy for TMJ disorder
- TMJ joint surgery
- Mandible surgery for TMJ and joint locking
For your convenience, our offices are open seven days a week. We accept walk-ins and offer affordable care and financing options. Showing signs of TMJ or TMD? Reach out to a certified dentist to help you rule out a TMJ problem. Call us today at 844.365.DENTAL or request an appointment through our website at any time.