Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, more commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, strikes your jaw with pain. You may feel anything from mild discomfort to extreme pain, depending on how advanced your condition is. You need the services of your family dentist Dr. Khabensky, who by the way is a TMJ specialist, to design effective treatment for TMJ that serves you the best, eliminating your pain once and for all.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction — better known as TMJ, TMD or TMJD — is a dysfunction in which you feel pain and discomfort when moving your jaw. The condition affects your jaw joint and its surrounding muscles. TMJ is a common malady. In fact, more than three million cases are reported in the United States alone every year.
Although it’s a common affliction, TMJ can be very painful, so don’t wait to have it treated. Find a TMJ specialist, like your best general dentist, to provide safe and effective treatment as soon as you start to notice any symptoms. You — or anyone in your family over the age of 19 — are susceptible to this jaw dysfunction. Maintain your regular bi-annual visits to your family dentist. He can help catch the condition in its earliest stages.
Causes and Symptoms
Often, it’s difficult to determine the cause of your TMJ dysfunction. Some of the most commons ways you develop TMJ problems are through genetics, arthritis or a jaw injury. More severe kinds of TMJ are caused by:
- your Brooklyn family dentist can treat it easily by recommending home remedies.
- A misalignment of your temporomandibular joint
- Damaged cartilage due to arthritis in the joint
- A severe impact or blunt force trauma to the joint
Although temporomandibular joint dysfunction ranges in severity, always speak to a TMJ specialist to ensure you get the proper treatment for TMJ. Tell your Brooklyn dentist when symptoms first started to appear so he can recommend the most appropriate treatment for TMJ dysfunction as soon as possible. Some of the symptoms that require a TMJ specialist include:
- Pain or a tender feeling in your jaw
- Pain in one or either of your temporomandibular joints, located just behind your cheekbone on your upper jaw, close to your ear
- Aching in or around your ear
- Difficulty chewing or having pain while eat
- Difficulty in opening and closing your mouth
This disorder can also create a clicking sound or a grating sensation while you open and close your mouth or when you chew food. In most cases, the TMJ isn’t severe; your family dentist can treat it easily by recommending home remedies. But seek a TMJ specialist if your symptoms are severe, your symptoms get worse or you’re unsure of the risk factors. Finding the right treatment plan is necessary to ensure a safe healing process.
TMJ specialist needs to conduct a physical exam to determine the severity of your disorder. He most likely feels and listens to your jaw when you open and close your mouth and observes your jaw’s range of motion. He also checks for sites of more severe pain or discomfort by pressing on your jaw.
An x-ray provides your general dentist with detailed images of the bones and structure of the joint. The x-ray images can reveal any problems that may be occurring in the joint. Your dentist gives you the diagnosis, along with the best treatment for TMJ plan possible after the examination.
Treatment for TMJ
There are cases of TMJ that don’t require specific treatment. In these cases, the pain and other symptoms go away on their own over time. If your symptoms get worse or they don’t go away within several days, your Brooklyn dentist can offer you a variety of treatment for TMJ options. Some of the more common options available include medications, therapy, and even surgery. Your treatment for TMJ may include:
- Medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen provide a quick and easy solution for instant pain relief. Your doctor can prescribe stronger medications if over-the-counter ones don’t do a good enough job relieving your pain and inflammation.
- Muscle relaxants, to suppress the more severe symptoms in your joint. This treatment option is mostly a short-term fix.
- Mouth guards, to help keep your jaw from creating more problems by grinding or clenching. It’s a soft or firm device that you wear at night. This treatment is often paired with other therapies, such as heat and ice.
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles. After the cause of your, TMJ has been addressed, physical therapy teaches you to chew properly.
- Surgical procedures, which tend to be a last resort. Surgery can solve the most severe cases of TMJ.
Your TMJ specialist makes it his goal to relieve your pain. He works with you to design a plan to eliminate the cause of your temporomandibular joint dysfunction before you even attempt surgery. The condition may only return if you don’t.
Closely follow his instructions no matter what kind of treatment for TMJ you underwent. It’s the best way to prevent a return of the condition. To reduce the risk for TMJ, do some stretching and massaging routines around your jaw, so it doesn’t become stiff.
Do you have any questions about the TMJ treatment? For more information or to schedule an appointment with the family dentist Khabensky DDS of Family Cosmetic & Implants Dentistry of Brooklyn? Please contact our family dental center in Brooklyn, NY for consultation with the dentists Alex and Igor Khabensky DDS.