BCOH Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ) is a common condition that affects a wide variety of people. Our TMJ specialists at Boston Center for Oral Health are experienced in treating the underlying cause of TMJ and greatly improving the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ is characterized by a variety of symptoms including:
- Severe headaches
- Jaw pain of varying degrees
- Grinding teeth
- Intermittent ringing in the ears
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with everyday life. Our team of dentists at Boston Center for Oral Health is able to test, diagnose and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
What are the reasons for treating TMJ?
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness.
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite”. It is possible for the dentist to realign the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.
The teeth grinding symptom is particularly common and generally occurs at night. Over time, the grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future.
Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
What does treating TMJ involve?
TMJ treatment at Boston Center for Oral Health can be a result of several different problems. Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient’s bite, take X-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis has been made, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A custom-made bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. The dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
A better option may be to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.” This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure and our dentists have performed realignment with great success for many patients.
As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today or schedule an appointment.
You can get more information about TMJ by visiting the website of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain at www.aacfp.org.