The temporomandibular joint is an essential part of your mouth. The hinge at which your lower jaw meets your skull provides for the movement of your jaw – chewing, speaking, and moving your jaw from side to side. When the joint is inflamed, or irritated in any way, your quality of life can suffer greatly. Any movement, no matter how minor, can cause serious pain. At National Dental Upper East Side, we offer TMJ treatment to ease the pain and allow you to get your life back.
WHAT IS TMJ DISORDER?
TMJ disorder covers a broad number of different issues that revolve around the jaw and the temporomandibular joint. When the pain in the joint is severe, it can seriously impact your quality of life. It can be caused by any one of some different factors including:
- Facial trauma. This can be the result of a direct hit to the face (such as a sports related injury) or an indirect cause, such as whiplash (your jaw temporarily becomes dislocated during an auto accident).
- Bruxism (the grinding and clenching of your teeth).
- Misaligned teeth or jaw.
- Sleep apnea.
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
SYMPTOMS OF TMJ
There are several symptoms to be on the lookout for, and some may not even seem to be associated with your jaw at all:
- Pain in the jaw.
- Facial pain.
- Difficulty opening your mouth.
- Clicking, popping or grinding while you chew.
- Headaches or earaches.
At National Dental Upper East Side, we can diagnose your TMJ problem. We can also often identify the exact cause, which will allow us to provide you with the best possible treatment. Diagnosis starts with a full visual, oral examination. We will check the condition of your teeth as well as your bite, making sure that your jaw and teeth line up properly. We will also most likely take some images, which will help us to not only determine the cause of your TMJ, but see the extent of the damage. Thanks to the technological advancements that dentistry has made, many of the tools we have in our office will be quite effective in our diagnosis. We may use digital X-rays or an ICAT scan. Our intraoral camera will also be effective during our visual inspection.
TREATMENT FOR TMJ
Treatment for your TMJ issues depends upon their cause. For some, all that is needed is a prescription for pain medication. However, for many, some other form of treatment is required. We can provide treatments such as:
- Night guards: Night guards work similarly to sports mouth guards. These guards are created from molds of your mouth and are designed to keep your jaw in alignment, as well as cushion your teeth from the excess forces put upon them (in the event of bruxism).
- Botox: While a common cosmetic surgery tool, Botox can be helpful in allowing the muscles of your jaw to relax, so less pressure is exerted on your teeth at night.
- Orthodontic work, if your teeth (or jaw) are out of alignment
- Surgery: Surgical options are reserved for when all other forms of TMJ treatment have proven ineffective. An arthroscopy is often used to clean and irrigate the joint.
If your jaw is causing you significant pain, it could be due to your temporomandibular joint. Contact National Dental Upper East Sidetoday at (646) 736-2206 to schedule your consultation.