According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. If you are one of them, you are likely frustrated with the pain caused by this condition. Bucks County Smiles offers safe and effective advanced treatments to relieve chronic TMJ pain.
The terms TMJ and TMD are often confused. TMJ technically refers to the temporomandibular joint itself. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder – the actual dysfunction in the joint and associated structures. However, you’ll often hear TMD referred to as TMJ.
Whether you want to call it TMJ or TMD, it hurts! So what’s going on? The term TMD comprises a variety of conditions that affect your jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and nerves associated with chronic facial pain. The causes of TMD are not always obvious, but many experts believe that certain mental or physical tasks (and stress) can cause or aggravate your TMD symptoms.
If you overuse your TMJ muscles — for example, by constantly grinding or clenching your teeth — you may be prone to TMD pain. If you have TMJ syndrome or TMD, you may be experiencing the following:
To determine the cause of your symptoms, our dentists will evaluate many factors. Sometimes, an x-ray called a "pan" or "panoramic radiograph" will be helpful in diagnosis structural issues with the jawbones. Additionally, occlusion (the way the teeth bite together) will be examined. We will also gather detailed information about your everyday habits and health background. Measurements of your jaw's range of motion may be taken, or we may perform a Muscle Exam to evaluate for overused/tender muscles ("myalgia" and "trigger points"). Every approach to TMD diagnosis is tailored to each patient's background, anatomy, and symptoms.
We offer several types of treatments and therapies for TMJ pain and TMD. Everyone’s case is different, and our patients have unique needs. TMJ treatment options include:
A plastic guard called a splint or bite plate may be crafted and placed over your upper and/or lower teeth to reduce teeth grinding and clenching, thereby easing muscle tension.
You may need to have a small bit of tooth structure removed or added to even out bite pressure.
Muscle tension or inflammation can be closely associated with TMD and migraine or tension headaches. Over-used muscles can be painful (myalgia) or cause referred head, neck, and orofacial pain. Injections with lidocaine and/or botulinum toxin (Botox® or Xeomin®) can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck pain.
Some of our patients have experienced TMJ relief from chiropractic services, physical therapy, and/or acupuncture. We are happy to work alongside fellow healthcare professionals to design a multifaceted treatment plan for you.
We may also recommend dietary changes and taking anti-inflammatory medications if you suffer from TMD. Eating only soft foods and/or taking aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can ease TMJ pain.