Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
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.
A common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called a malocclusion. It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The grinding of teeth, technically called "bruxism", is particularly common. This is often stress related, and usually occurs at night. 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 could be a result of several different problems. A poor bite relationship, grinding or clenching of teeth are the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, Dr. Rube 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 diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. Dr. Rube 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. More involved treatment options are possible if the discomfort or lack of normal jaw function persists, but most TMJ cases under treatment with Dr. Rube resolve with conservative care.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.