TMJ Therapy

A patient with jaw pain.

Relief for Facial Pain in Our Stamford Office

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), or temporomandibular disorders (TMD), are the most common source of chronic facial pain and jaw dysfunction. Although, there are many available treatments out there to alleviate the distress caused by these disorders.

The Temporomandibular joints are the two joints connecting the left and right side of the jaw. They are responsible for all jaw movements including chewing, yawning, and speaking. So, if one is diagnosed with TMJ disorder, they do not have full painless movement of these joints.

Some types of TMJ disorders include:

  • Myofascial pain- Pain in the area of the jaw joint due to various causes of increased muscle tension and spasm
  • Internal derangement- Displacement of the disc, jaw dislocation or trauma to the condyles of the jaw
  • Degenerative joint disease – Arthritis

The chances of developing one of these issues increases considerably in people who experience teeth grinding, clenching, gnashing (bruxism), a jaw injury, or arthritis.

Some symptoms involve:

  • Earaches
  • ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • back pain and/or neck pain
  • Vertigo
  • muscle spasms
  • joint tenderness
  • jaw pain
  • popping or grating sounds with jaw movement
  • jaw locking or limited jaw movement.

In order to evaluate the presence of a TMJ disorder, the dentist will perform a thorough clinical assessment of joint symptoms and function. Oftentimes, the treatment will require a night guard to prevent bruxism or stabilization splints. Although, if therapy is recommended, we may suggest steroid injections, occlusal adjustments, orthodontic treatment, or prosthodontic treatments to improve occlusion. In cases of persistent and serious TMJ problems, surgery may be appropriate. For some people a TMJ disorder can be resolved within a relatively short period of time, while for others it will continue to persist despite extensive therapy.

There are many ways to alleviate symptoms at home as well. It is often recommended to eat soft foods, avoid rapid or intensive jaw movements, and ice the area as needed. For short-term use, over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications may provide relief. If not, we may prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants or anti-depressants.

Think you may be experiencing a TMJ disorder? Schedule an exam to find out at (203) 323-5820 .

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