TMJ - Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

General & Cosmetic Dentist serving Hoboken, Jersey City & Hudson County areas of New Jersey

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Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a condition that occurs when your jaw joint falls out of alignment. Your temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to your skull, and it is one of the most complex joints in your body. It is responsible for the proper movement and function of your jaw, and facilitates routine actions such as chewing, talking, swallowing, and yawning.

 

TMJ can result in chronic jaw and facial pain, and it is common to experience severe migraine headaches from the condition. If you are suffering from debilitating pain associated with TMJ, Hoboken neuromuscular dentist Dr. Frank DePaola can help you alleviate these symptoms so that you can enjoy a pain-free life once again. Please call 201-792-9400 today to schedule your consultation.

Causes of TMJ

The exact cause of TMJ is often unknown since there are many potential reasons for your jaw to become misaligned. However, potential causes of the condition may include:

  • Injury to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or head and neck muscles after a strong blow to the head
  • Dislocation of the disc which provides cushioning between the ball and socket of your temporomandibular joint
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Cartilage damage, often due to arthritis
  • Stress, which may cause you to repeatedly tighten facial and jaw muscles by clenching your teeth

Symptoms of TMJ

Common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or popping sound in the jaw
  • Limited jaw mobility
  • Locking of the jaw joint
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial swelling
  • Uneven bite
  • Migraine headaches
  • Earaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Dizziness

How We Discover TMJ:

Diagnosing and treating TMJ requires both advanced technology and a great deal of skill on the part of your dentist. At The Practice at Maxwell Place, we offer both. We use the Myotronics K7 evaluation system to closely and thoroughly examine your bite and jaw position. The K7 uses electromyography, or the recording and measurement of electrical activity in muscle tissue, to determine the strain and stress put on the muscles in your jaw area. Once we’ve determined that there is a jaw and bite problem consistent with TMJ, the K7 system will be able to estimate the ideal jaw and bite position for you. With that information, we can decide upon a course of TMJ treatment that will relieve your symptoms and address the underlying causes of your pain.

TMJ Treatment

Your TMJ treatment will consist of two phases. During the first phase of treatment, Dr. Frank will work to relieve the painful TMJ symptoms you are experiencing. This can be accomplished using:

  • Over-the-counter NSAID medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Pain killers
  • Corticosteroid drugs
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxants

Once your pain has been alleviated, our Hoboken neuromuscular dentists will work to correct the alignment issues with your jaw and restore your bite to its ideal resting position. Depending on the nature of your condition, Dr. Frank may recommend one of the following non-surgical treatments:

  • Comfort guard to be worn at night to provide comfort to your teeth, joints, and muscles
  • Full time removable neuromuscular orthotic device to be worn all day and night
  • Fixed orthotic device to be worn all day and night
  • Restorative dentistry procedures
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • DNA Expansion Orthodontic Therapy

The Dangers of Untreated TMJ

Failure to treat TMJ can lead to chronic pain in the face, jaw, ears, back, and neck. This can cause you to rely on prescription pain medication for relief. Unfortunately, regular consumption of pain medication will not correct the condition and prevent symptoms from arising in the future; it will just temporarily minimize your pain.

TMJ can also have serious consequences for your oral health. A misaligned jaw will impact your bite, causing uneven tooth wear which may require expensive dental procedures down the road to restore a proper bite. TMJ can make chewing difficult and uncomfortable, preventing you from receiving many of the nutrients you need.

When your jaw becomes misaligned, it impacts your neck and back muscles as well. This can lead to a sloped, hunched posture which affects your bone strength and muscle tension.

Relief of TMJ Symptoms

There are two components to your TMJ treatment plan:

  • Relief of painful TMJ symptoms
  • Correction of underlying alignment issue

First Hoboken neuromuscular dentist Dr. Frank DePaola will work to eliminate the pain associated with your TMJ symptoms. This can be accomplished using:

  • Over-the-counter NSAID medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Pain killers
  • Corticosteroid drugs
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Posturology

Once you are experiencing some relief from your symptoms, Dr. Frank will work to realign your jaw and restore a proper bite. Depending on the information obtained during your TMJ evaluation, Dr. Frank may recommend one of the following courses of action:

  • Comfort guard to be worn at night to provide comfort to your teeth, joints, and muscles
  • Full time removable neuromuscular orthotic device to be worn all day and night
  • Fixed orthotic device to be worn all day and night
  • Restorative dentistry procedures
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • DNA Expansion Orthodontic Therapy

When to Seek TMJ Treatment

Occasional jaw pain may not be a cause for concern. However, if you experience chronic pain in your face or jaw, consistently have difficulty chewing, or have persistent tenderness in your jaw, visit our Hoboken dental office at once so that Dr. Frank can perform a thorough TMJ evaluation.

At The Practice at Maxwell Place, our Hoboken neuromuscular dentists use the most advanced technology available for TMJ diagnosis and identify the cause of your TMJ symptoms. This includes the K7 neuromuscular evaluation system, which uses a state-of-the-art electromyography method to track the movement of your jaw muscles to determine the extent of your jaw misalignment. This data will help Dr. Frank devise the proper TMJ treatment plan to address your condition.

Please contact The Practice at Maxwell Place using the form at the right side of the page or call 201-792-9400 today to schedule your initial TMJ evaluation. Dr. Frank DePaola serves patients in Hoboken, Jersey City, and throughout Hudson County, New Jersey.