Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the spot where your jaw connects to your skull to allow you to close and open your jaw easily. Sometimes the TMJ is injured or damaged, resulting in a painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). If you are experiencing pain or hearing noises when you move your jaw, schedule a consultation with one of our trained dental specialists at SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry to determine if you have TMD. At our practice in New York, NY, our dentists use advanced equipment to examine and treat your TMD to ease your pain. Your TMJ therapy will be based on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, but some options include oral appliances (mouth or night guards), bite modification, dental restorations, and more.
SmilesNY is one of the only dental practices in New York to provide Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy to help identify occlusal contacts that could be causing TMD symptoms, and treat them by balancing the way the teeth work and fit together. DTR utilizes T-Scan and EMG technology to measure the pressure, timing, and muscle activity of a patient's bite. While evaluating the connection between the teeth, parts of the enamel may be shaved off, or tooth-colored fillings can be added to the teeth to create a more symmetrical and balanced bite. Patients can typically experience results after one treatment with optimal results occurring after 2 – 4 treatments of DTR therapy. During your consultation, talk with your SmilesNY dentist about the benefits and lasting effects of DTR therapy to treat the symptoms of TMD.
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Temporomandibular joint disorder might be brought on by a single injury to the jaw, chronic grinding of your teeth and clenching your jaw (bruxism), or a misaligned bite (dental malocclusion). Medical conditions that might lead to TMD include a tumor in the TMJ or arthritis. In some cases, the reason for TMD is uncertain, but if you are experiencing signs and symptoms, your SmilesNY dentist can still diagnose and treat your jaw. The most common symptoms of TMD are pain or tenderness in the jaw, spasms in your facial muscles, feeling as if your jaw is stiff or stuck, and headaches that start near your ears. Another symptom is hearing clicking, cracking, or popping whenever you open your jaw.
What To Expect
To help diagnose a temporomandibular disorder, your dentist will carefully listen and understand your concerns before performing a physical examination. During the exam, they will assess the movement of your jaw and start looking for indications of misalignment, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching. They will also feel the jawbone and surrounding area for any tenderness and inflammation. Digital x-rays of your lower face or a bite analysis may be conducted to look for any underlying causes that could determine your treatment method. Based on the exam, your dentist will go over your treatment options that could include a dental appliance, orthodontics, or restorations (crowns or bridges).
Along with procedures to fix the underlying cause of your temporomandibular joint disorder, your dentist can recommend other means to ease pain and other symptoms at home. This includes a liquid or soft food diet, avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Your dentist can also give you exercises to strengthen your jaw or prescribe medicine to relax your muscles (and to ease pain, anxiety, or inflammation).
Continue to attend follow-up visits so the progress of your TMJ therapy can be assessed. If your treatment is not helping, a different approach may be considered. Once your TMD has been treated, you should keep going to annual dental exams at SmilesNY to maintain your oral health.
Dental insurance coverage for TMJ pain diagnosis and TMD remedies will vary, so we will contact your carrier to calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Whether you have dental insurance or not, a member of our financial team will go over cost estimates when reviewing treatment options. To make all treatments affordable, SmilesNY accepts many payment methods and we can help you find low-interest medical financing.
Advanced TMD Treatments
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain makes it tough to chew, speak, and enjoy your day-to-day life. Since there are many possible causes, symptoms, and solutions for temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), schedule a consultation at our office in New York, NY. One of our dental professionals will give you a thorough examination before your diagnosis and discuss treatment options. Contact the team at SmilesNY to get more information and schedule an appointment.