TMJ Disorders Wayne, PA

TMD is a short-hand term often used to refer to TMJ Disorder, a condition caused by problems in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the jawbone to the skull. Your temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of your face, just in front of your ears.

This is the most complex and frequently used joint in the body, used for talking, eating, chewing, yawning, and controlling many facial expressions. It allows you to open and close your mouth and move your jaw forward, backward, and from side to side. If this joint works properly, your jaw movements are smooth and comfortable.

What is TMJ Disorder?

If the temporomandibular joint is not working smoothly, various issues can result. The National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research estimates that 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. If these symptoms are not treated, they often escalate, leading to jaw movement limitations, pain, and other complications.

TMJ disorders are identified as a conditions affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. Some of these symptoms cause pain, limited range of motion, and difficulty using the jaw properly.

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TMJ vs. TMD

While people often use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably, TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint while TMD refers to TMJ Disorders. When talking about symptoms of a problem with the TMJ, some people use the term TMJ as an alternative to TMD, but they mean the same thing.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

If you experience any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, it may indicate a problem with your temporomandibular joint:

  • Stiffness or soreness in the jaw, particularly when waking
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth (this can be a cause as well as a symptom of TMJ)
  • Pain when chewing or difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
  • Popping, catching, or clicking of the jaw
  • A misaligned bite
  • Difficulty tearing or biting food with your front teeth
  • Chronic jaw or neck pain
  • Pain around the back teeth not caused by other dental issues
  • Chronic, severe headaches
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Chronic earaches or a feeling of fullness in the ears not caused by infection
  • Worn-down or loose teeth, particularly on one side

What Causes TMJ?

It is easier to diagnose TMD symptoms than it is to determine a single cause. In most cases, multiple factors affect the joints, including arthritis, overuse of the jaw, improper tooth alignment, genetics, and bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth).

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

TMJ can be resistant to treatment. Some patients go through several treatment options before finding what works best. Consulting with Dr. Alex and Dr. Woo at Main Line Dental Group is the first step toward finding relief for your TMJ symptoms.

Bite Correction

If your teeth do not meet properly, opening and closing your mouth will cause chronic inflammation of the TMJ. A customized splint can resolve the issue. The splint may be worn only when you sleep or all day, depending on the severity of the problem.

Minimizing Tooth Grinding

If you grind or clench your teeth, the tensed muscles strain the jaw joint. Like a splint but designed to prevent teeth clenching, a mouthguard is custom-fitted and worn whenever teeth grinding is a problem. Most patients wear it at night, when clenching or grinding of the teeth can be most severe.

Steroid Injections

For severe TMJ pain, steroid injections can reduce the inflammation and bring almost immediate pain relief. These do not address the cause of TMJ Disorder but can alleviate some of the symptoms for a time.

Think You Have TMJ? Ready For Relief?
Contact Our Office Today To Schedule An Appointment!


Main Line Dental Group Phone Number 610-971-0717 Book Online

Botox Injections

Botox injections temporarily paralyze select muscles of the jaw to alleviate pain and prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth. Botox is one of the newest treatment options for moderate to severe TMJ Disorder and can last for three to four months at a time. Learn More About Botox to treat TMJ.

Arthrocentesis

This minimally invasive procedure uses a small needle inserted into the joint to drain fluid build-up around the temporomandibular joint. This can reduce or eliminate the inflammation around the joint.

Physical Therapy

Exercises to realign the jaw, moist heat, ice, and ultrasound may all be part of a physical therapy regimen designed to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles and promote healing.

Surgery

When all other avenues have failed, TMJ surgery may be needed. Surgery may involve repairing, repositioning, or replacing parts of the temporomandibular joint. This is typically a last resort, as recovery times can be lengthy, and it is an invasive procedure. After surgery, physical therapy is needed for several weeks or months.

If you have symptoms of TMJ Disorder that are impacting your life, a consultation with Dr. Alex or Dr. Woo at Main Line Dental Group can help. After a thorough exam and discussion of your symptoms, we will review treatment options with you and determine the course of action that is best for you. Call Main Line Dental Group Phone Number 610-971-0717 or schedule an appointment online to get one step closer to TMJ relief.