Living with the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) each day can be extremely difficult – even life-altering. While the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are necessary for normal oral function, these structures and their supporting muscles can easily become damaged, stressed, or fatigued and lead to a host of symptoms that can make life very uncomfortable. TMD is a condition affecting an estimated 10 million or more people in the United States. Though TMD is becoming seemingly more common, there is hope for finding relief in advanced TMJ treatment.
At SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, our team of skilled, experienced dentists routinely diagnose and treat the symptoms of TMD. We utilize the latest in diagnostic techniques to accurately identify conditions involving the jaw joints, or TMJ, and provide personalized treatment plans for establishing health, comfort, and wellness back into the lives of New York City, NY men and women afflicted with this common health problem. If you have been struggling with the symptoms of TMD, however mild or severe, our dentists understand what you are experiencing and want to help. Read on to learn more about TMD and our TMJ treatment approach for helping you improve your jaw joint health.
What Exactly Is TMD?
The TMJ are the bilateral hinge joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Though similar to ball-and-socket joints, the TMJ allow the lower jaw to slide forward to aid in oral function. When the joint itself, supporting muscles, or surrounding tissues become damaged, overworked or inflamed, problems with the structure may begin to develop. TMD is any disorder or dysfunction affecting the normal function of the jaw joints.
TMJ Pain and Other Uncomfortable Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of TMD among New York City-area patients affect each individual differently and range from mild to severe, and even debilitating in some cases. If you experience TMJ pain or one or more of the following signs or symptoms of TMD, the dentists at SmilesNY encourage you to seek a TMJ evaluation with our experienced team:
• Pain in the face, jaw, neck, or shoulders
• Sensitive teeth or toothaches
• Limited range of jaw movement
• Clicking or popping in the jaw
• Frequent headaches or earaches
• Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
• Waking with a sore or tired jaw
• Jaw feeling stiff or stuck
• Difficulty biting or chewing
• Worn biting edges or restorations
Common TMD Contributors
A wide array of factors has been found to contribute to TMJ problems. Some of the most common include:
• Poor posture
• An improper bite
• Jaw misalignment
• Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)
• Injury to the jaw, face, head, or neck
• Uneven restorations or tooth surfaces
During a TMJ evaluation visit, our experienced dentists will listen to your symptoms and concerns surrounding your jaw joint condition. We will evaluate your jaw movement and associated areas of TMJ pain and discomfort, look for signs of wear on your teeth, and assess for noises occurring when you open or close your mouth. Given its extensive range of potential contributors and symptoms, generating a definitive diagnosis for TMD may be difficult in some cases. However, our team at SmilesNY uses the latest in technology for providing a more accurate TMD diagnosis. We find that most cases of TMD are a result of teeth that do not fit together properly when biting down.
What Is DTR Therapy?
As one of the only New York City-area practices to offer Disclosure Time Reduction (DTR) therapy, SmilesNY is committed to bringing the highest quality care to patients suffering from TMD. DTR is a computer-assisted approach to identifying disturbances in how the upper and lower teeth bite together by evaluating muscle action that controls jaw movement. With this approach, our experienced dentists can bring harmony back to your bite, allowing the muscles to relax and minimize stress on the jaw joints. DTR therapy has been shown to relieve most symptoms of TMD.
In addition to bite adjustments and DTR therapy, our team at SmilesNY may recommend other therapeutic options to help patients needing TMJ treatment in New York City, NY to overcome uncomfortable symptoms. These additional treatment options include oral appliance therapy with night guards that are customized to protect the teeth and jaw joints against the effects of teeth grinding. For some patients, we may suggest replacing damaged or uneven dental restorations or even orthodontics to correct a misaligned bite. Palliative care at home, including warm and cold compresses and specific stretching exercises, also prove helpful for a number of individuals. More severe cases of TMD may be better treated with a surgical approach.
Advanced TMJ Treatment From a Team of Experts
Many patients are experiencing the effects of TMD – but yet are completely unaware of the presence of this condition. Symptoms, such as headaches or neck pain, are often associated with other aspects of health when in fact, they may be a result of a TMJ problem. The experienced, caring dentists at SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York City, NY have studied the condition of TMD and offer effective solutions for relieving discomfort and improving jaw joint health. If you are experiencing any indication of TMD, please get in touch with SmilesNY right away. We welcome you to partner with our team and experience life in comfort, harmony, and better health.