Do you know what TMJ means? It is often, mistakenly used to describe a condition in the jaw, but it means the “temporomandibular joint” which is the largest joint on your head. It is where your jaw connects to the side of your head, and it is a highly flexible joint that moves up and down while also flexing from side to side. It can create a lot of force and handle lots of stress, but it can cause a problem known as TMJ/TMD. At Rivercrest Family Dental in New Braunfels, TX we provide treatments to those struggling with pain, discomfort or malfunction with this joint.
It is amazing what sort of symptoms and problems TMJ/TMD can cause. Just consider that symptoms of some sort of trouble in this joint can include:
- Migraines and ongoing headaches
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Bruxism or grinding of the teeth
- Imbalance due to inner ear pressures
- Jaw, face, ear or neck pain
- Inability to move the jaw easily or comfortably, causing trouble with speech, eating and even yawning
- Noises when using the joint
- Locking of the jaw when opened or closed
Why do problems occur? It is difficult for a general dentist or physician to answer that question. After all, some say that tension and stress can be a trigger. Others say it might be due to some sort of trauma or injury, and some also say dental work or orthodontics may cause misalignment in the teeth that lead to stress on the TMJ. Even symptoms may be a cause, with tooth grinding often identified as a potential cause
How Can Your Dentist Help?
Headaches, Craniofacial Pain, and TMJ/TMD is an emerging specialty that bridges the gap between medicine and dentistry. Patients we see usually aren’t sure who they should contact to resolve their symptoms listed below. Often times they have been to various providers prior in search of solutions. What can be confusing is that migraines, headaches, ear pain, ringing in the ear, dizziness, and eye pain can be coming from different parts of the head and neck making it challenging to figure out what doctor is the best to see. The patients we see come in with the following chief complaints:
- Headaches (daily, recurrent, nightly)
- Ear pain, fullness, congestion, whooshing
- Jaw pain, clicking, popping, crunching, locking, noises
- Teeth clenching, grinding, gnashing
- Face pain, numbness, tingling, shocking
- Eye pain
- Neck pain
- Base of skull of pain
- Pain when chewing
- Throat pain
- Shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Difficulty opening mouth
- Nasal and Sinus congestion
- Muscle twitching
- Bite feels off or different than before
- Numbness in hands or arms
- Burning Mouth
Treating this issue can be a bit tricky because it can be impossible to pinpoint the exact cause. Our general dentist will work with you to begin addressing the situation. One of the first things to deal with is pain, and simple over the counter pain relievers are often a good first step.
We also use the innovative TMJ Therapy system that looks at the underlying causes for any problems with this joint. This includes doing something known as Bite Force Analysis with the TMJ Therapy technology as well as a Range of Motion Analysis. These allow us to see the individual teeth causing problems or if movement in the neck or head is causing pain or malfunction.
Is it holistic? Yes, it is a good approach to finding relief for headaches related to the condition and relies on everything from trigger point manipulation to cold lasers, ultrasound and more.
The first step to dealing with any disorder of the TMJ, though, is a visit to our dental office. We can help determine if some of your daily actions, like resting the chin on the hand or using your shoulder and ear to hold a phone are causing pain. It could be that your posture is a problem or that you are clenching the teeth during the day or night. There are so many factors that can cause this issue, so the first step is coming to the dentist office.
Our diagnostic workup at Rivercrest Dental is unlike any other.
We take a great deal of time reviewing your medical history in detail and completing a very comprehensive head and neck evaluation utilizing cutting-edge technology. Proper diagnosis and emphasis on origin rather than symptoms alone is key to successful, long-term treatment results. After proper diagnosis, a specific non-surgical, treatment plan for rehabilitation is developed for the unique needs of each individual patient.
Common conditions treated:
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Temporomandibular Dysfunction/Disease
- Capsulitis of TM Joint
- Jaw Locking or Dislocation of Jaw
- Tension-Type Headaches
- Cervicogenic Headaches
Stop Suffering and Seek Treatment For TMJ Today
If you believe you are struggling with TMJ/TMD, it is time to talk with a dentist in New Braunfels about the treatment. Get in touch with us today by calling 830-625-7611 or by visiting our Contact page.