TMJ Disorder & Headaches
Get relief from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems and headaches at North Dental Professionals. Dr. Chaiken will diagnose and treat your TMJ symptoms and headaches related to to your TMJ.
Dr. Chaiken has had extensive training in TMJ disorders and treatment. Symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
Many treatments can resolve TMJ disorders. Dr. Chaiken can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.
Trouble with Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
▪ Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
▪ Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
▪ Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
▪ Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
▪ Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
▪ Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
▪ Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
▪ Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaws?
▪ Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
▪ Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
▪ Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
▪ Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
▪ Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered "yes," the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
Dr. Chaiken offers his patients a variety of treatment options to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Successful treatment depends on a careful diagnosis. Dr. Chaiken will conduct a thorough history and examination which may include models of your teeth, measurements of jaw movement, evaluation of jaw sounds with Doppler technology, and MRI or CT scans. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, the doctor will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.
The initial goals in TMJ treatment are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory or medication such as a muscle relaxant. Steroid injections can be for the joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
There are a variety of other treatments that Dr. Chaiken may use or prescribe with may include:
▪ A splint or night guard is commonly recomended. fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. A splint helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension and helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. This appliance can be worn up to 20 hr/day or just at night. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear.
▪ Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint.
▪ Resting your jaw
▪ Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
▪ Eating soft foods
▪ Applying ice and heat
▪ Exercising your jaw
▪ Practicing good posture
What about bite correction or surgery?
Dr. Chaiken will make every effort to treat your TMJ disorder conservatively. If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental treatment.
Dr. Chaiken does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and not reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed but are reserved for severe cases.