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Living With Jaw Pain? Why You Should Seek TMJ Therapy

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Are you living with jaw pain? If headaches, clicking sounds in your jaw, and pain are ruling your life, then you could be suffering from the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). While the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are necessary for normal oral function, these structures and their supporting muscles can quickly 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.

We can help! At SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, our team of skilled, experienced dentists regularly diagnose and treat the symptoms of TMD. We utilize the latest in diagnostic techniques to identify conditions involving the jaw joints, or TMJ accurately, 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, our dentists are compassionate and ready to assist. Read below to learn more about TMJ pain and how you can finally get some relief.

Ouch! Why do I feel pain?

The TMJ is the bilateral hinge joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. Though similar to ball-and-socket joints, the TMJ allows 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.

Symptoms of TMD

The signs and symptoms of TMD among New York City-area patients affect each individual differently and symptoms can range from mild, severe or even debilitating in some cases. If you are experiencing TMJ pain or one or more of the following signs or symptoms of TMD, the dentists at SmilesNY encourage you to seek a TMD evaluation with our experienced team. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms of TMD:

• 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:

  • Arthritis

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • 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

Treating TMJ pain

Sometimes jaw problems can resolve on their own. If you are experiencing pain from TMJ, you may try the following things first for some immediate relief:

  • Moist heat

  • Ice

  • Soft diet

  • Over-the-counter medication such as Advil

  • Jaw exercises

  • Relaxation techniques including yoga and breathing exercises

  • Sleep on your side

  • Yawning widely

It’s time to see a doctor

When all else fails, it’s time for a TMD evaluation visit. Our experienced dentists will listen to your symptoms and concerns regarding your jaw joint condition. During your consultation, 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. SmilesNY utilizes the most up-to-date technology that can accurately diagnose TMD. Most of the time, TMD is a result of teeth that do not fit together correctly when biting down.

I have TMD. Now what?

SmilesNY is one of the only New York City-area practices to offer Disclosure Time Reduction (DTR) therapy for their 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 highly skilled dentists can bring alignment 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.

TMD Treatment

Bite adjustments, DTR therapy, and other therapeutic options may be recommended to help patients needing TMJ treatment in New York City, NY to overcome uncomfortable symptoms. For men and women who grind their teeth, customized night guards are a simple solution that protects the teeth and jaw joints against the effects of teeth grinding. For patients with damaged, uneven dental restorations or even orthodontics to correct a misaligned bite, it might be time to address these issues. Palliative care at home, including warm and cold compresses and specific stretching exercises, also prove helpful for several individuals. More severe cases of TMD may be better treated with a surgical approach.

SmilesNY can offer relief for TMJ pain

It might seem far fetched, but many patients who are experiencing the effects of TMD are entirely unaware of the presence of this condition. The confusion lies in the symptoms themselves. Headaches or neck pain may not trigger one to think there is a TMJ problem. The experienced and sensitive dentists at SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York City, NY have the medical background to understand the condition of TMD and offer practical solutions for relieving discomfort and improving jaw joint health. If you are experiencing pain from what could be TMD, please contact SmilesNY to schedule a consultation for fast diagnosis and relief.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.