November is National TMJ Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness of this common condition along with supporting efforts to find new and innovative ways to treat jaw disorders without surgery.
What is TMJ?
TMJ, sometimes called TMD, is the name given to over a dozen disorders that can have an impact on jaw alignment. It is estimated that 35 million people in the United States suffer from TMJ, though this number may be much higher as many people confuse its symptoms with something else.
Symptoms of TMJ may occur around the jaw joint itself and present as clicking, popping, or grinding noises when biting or chewing food. Pain, swelling, and lockjaw are also signs of TMJ and should be brought to the immediate attention of a neuromuscular dentist.
In addition to symptoms around the jaw joint, TMJ may cause a host of other problems including:
- Chronic headaches
- Ear ringing and pain
- Sinus pressure and pain
- Pain or pressure behind the eyes
- Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- Tingling or numbness in the arms and fingers
- Postural changes
When these issues are persistent, they may not seem related to jaw alignment and might never prompt a visit to a neuromuscular dentist. Unfortunately, unless TMJ is diagnosed and treated, the symptoms will not go away. They will just get worse.
Diagnosing and Treating TMJ
To diagnose TMJ, our Manhattan dentists utilize advanced technology and hands-on evaluations. If misalignment is present, we can begin customizing a treatment plan to address symptoms and restore comfort right away. If the cause of your condition is clear – which is not always the case – we can address lifestyle changes and other out-of-office solutions as well to both support and improve your treatment outcomes.
Treating TMJ requires a realignment of the bite and the stabilization of jaw muscles. This may be accomplished through:
- Neuromuscular orthodontics
- An occlusal guard
- An oral splint
- Full mouth rehabilitation
These treatments may be accompanied by services such as muscle relaxation with a TENS unit or BOTOX® injections. At-home exercises and relaxation techniques may be necessary as well, particularly in cases where bruxism (teeth grinding) is an issue.
The best way to determine if a TMJ treatment can restore comfort and strength to your smile is through a one-on-one evaluation with Dr. Elisa Mello or Dr. Ramin Tabib. Experienced, thorough, and effective, our neuromuscular dentists will take all of the time necessary to properly diagnose your condition and work directly with you to find a treatment plan that will produce the most rewarding results.
To schedule a TMJ evaluation at our Manhattan office, please call NYC Smile Design at 212-453-3344 today. We serve all seven boroughs along with surrounding areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Call us today to schedule your consultation and learn more