The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull and aid in jaw movement. When these joints are damaged or under stress, they can cause a multitude of problems. TMJ disorders are often marked by pain in the jaw, face, and teeth. Dr. Stefan Speck provides TMJ treatment to patients in Oxford, PA. He works with his patients to find areas of pain and determine the best mode of treatment to alleviate their TMJ symptoms.
TMJ therapy is a restorative dentistry solution that revitalizes the function and comfort of the smile, jaw, and joints.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
There are several common signs of TMJ:
- Teeth clenching and grinding (Bruxism)
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Tooth pain
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Tooth wear
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, please contact our dental office for an examination and treatment. It is better to treat TMJ in its early stages before these symptoms worsen over time.
Treating TMJ Disorders
Patients with mild TMJ symptoms benefit from prescribed muscle relaxants and physical therapy. Muscle relaxants help relieve stress in the face and jaw to stop bruxism and morning headaches or migraines. Stretching tense muscles of the face, jaw, and shoulders help combat pain and stress caused by TMJ disorders.
Patients who clench and grind their teeth at night benefit from custom-made nightguards. To create this custom oral appliance, Dr. Speck takes dental impressions sent to a lab for fabrication. Once the nightguard is complete, he makes minor alterations to ensure that it fits properly.
Nightguards are typically made of hard acrylic or plastic that keeps the teeth apart and prevents them from grinding together. Wearing this oral appliance at night can stop stress on the TMJ joints and alleviate jaw pain.
Nightguards also prevent the need for cosmetic treatments for worn teeth like dental bonding or veneers.
What is the most effective treatment for TMJ?
The most effective treatment for TMJ depends on the patient and the severity of their symptoms. Some patients find relief through simple home remedies such as over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs. Avoiding hard-to-chew foods is something patients can also do. Physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles can also benefit most patients.
For more persistent cases, a dentist or medical doctor might recommend a custom-made mouthguard to prevent teeth grinding, which can exacerbate TMJ issues. In rare cases, a doctor may consider surgical interventions. The best approach is often a combination of treatments your dentist or doctor will tailor to your needs.
What is the main cause of TMJ?
The primary causes of TMJ disorders can vary for each patient. However, TMJ problems are usually due to problems with the jaw muscles. This could be due to injury to the jaw, joint erosion, or arthritis. Chronic grinding or clenching of the teeth is another. In some cases, stress might contribute to the condition; patients often hold tension in their facial and jaw muscles. Therefore, discussing your TMJ symptoms with your dentist or doctor is important.
What causes TMJ to flare up?
Various factors can cause TMJ flare-ups, which can differ for each patient. Medical doctors consider TMJ disorders a medical problem involving physical and psychological components. These components include joint inflammation, fatigue, headaches, decreased range of motion in the jaw area, and pain.
However, many dentists have successfully treated TMJ issues through orthodontic treatments or contouring of the teeth to improve occlusion or bite alignment. In addition, TMJ disorders often require a multidisciplinary approach. This means your dentist and doctor can work to diagnose and treat TMJ disorders.
What happens if I do not seek treatment for TMJ disorders?
If you do not treat TMJ disorders, they can lead to many uncomfortable or painful symptoms. Long-term effects might include chronic jaw pain, headaches, and earaches. You might also experience difficulty chewing or even talking. TMJ disorders can also lead to airway sleep disorders. In some severe cases, TMJ disorders could cause lockjaw, a condition where the jaw becomes stuck in position. So do not wait. Seek medical or dental attention if you suspect you’re dealing with TMJ issues.
Can TMJ go away on its own?
Yes, TMJ symptoms can sometimes resolve on their own. This is the case when temporary stress or a short-term overuse of the jaw muscles triggers your symptoms. Chewing gum excessively or clenching your teeth are examples of this. However, if your symptoms persist, it’s best to consult a medical doctor or dentist. They can provide treatments and exercises to help reduce the strain on your jaw and alleviate your discomfort.
Can you have TMJ on one side only?
Yes, you can experience TMJ disorder on just one side. It’s not always a bilateral condition. Dental professionals refer to it as unilateral TMJ pain or disorder due to injury, joint misalignment, or jaw muscle imbalance. Symptoms could include pain, difficulty chewing, or trouble opening and closing the mouth on the affected side. Early intervention can help manage the condition and prevent potential complications.
Request a Dental Appointment
Do you notice yourself clenching your teeth during the day? Are there signs of wear on your teeth? Call Dr. Speck for TMJ treatment today at 610.753.4506 or schedule a dental consultation with him on our website. Let Dr. Speck or a member of his dental team know if you have any further questions. They will gladly assist you.