TMD/TMJ Treatment

TMJ Problems? Let Us Help!

Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people of all ages. People who suffer from TMJ experience moderate to severe pain and suffering that in many cases are avoidable through several treatment options to correct what is commonly called a “bad bite” but refers to the misalignment of teeth.

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What Is the Difference Between TMJ and TMD?

Although often used interchangeably, TMJ and TMD are not technically the same, even though they are indeed related. The temporomandibular joint, TMJ, acts like a hinge that slides in your mouth and connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ is the actual part of the body. TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorders, defines the actual problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMD can cause pain in those muscles that control jaw movement and your jaw joint. 

Because the terms are often used interchangeably, one can assume that TMJ and TMD refer to the same thing – a disorder in the jaw joint that leads to pain and discomfort.

While more people know it as TMJ vs. TMD, that is how we will refer to it going forward in addressing your TMJ questions.

If you think you might have TMJ, schedule an appointment with Dr. Praveen Varkey. He will happily discuss the treatment process that is best for you.

What Causes TMJ? 

The exact causes of TMJ  have not been discovered; however, dental professionals believe that symptoms arise from various issues with your jaw muscles or with parts of the joint area itself. 

If you have had an injury to your jaw, jaw joint, or the muscles surrounding your neck and head, such as a heavy object blow or whiplash, this can lead to TMJ.

Other causes of TMJ include:

  • Movement of the soft disc between the socket and ball of the jaw joint
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth causes pressure on the joint
  • Stress which causes clenching
  • Arthritis of your joint
  • Stress and anxiety that leads to clenching and grinding
patient with severe jaw pain who needs urgent TMJ treatment in DeSoto

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ can cause severe discomfort and pain, and it can be temporary or last for a few years. It can also affect either one or both sides of the face. It is most common among people aged 20 to 40, and studies suggest that it occurs mainly in women than men.

TMJ symptoms include:

  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw joint area, face, neck, and shoulders, 
  • Pain around your ear when you speak or chew
  • Lock or stuck jaw when in the open-or closed-mouth position
  • Fatigue feeling in your face
  • Headaches
  • Popping, grating, or clicking sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This might not be painful.
  • Swelling on your face
  • Uncomfortable bite or trouble with chewing. This might feel like your teeth do not fit together correctly.
  • Problems with opening/closing mouth
  • Toothaches

How Is TMJ Diagnosed?

Dr. Praveen Varkey will conduct a physical exam and talk to you about your medical health history to figure out if you have TMJ or not. Many other conditions cause similar symptoms to TMJ symptoms, such as sinus issues, arthritis, and tooth decay, so it’s important to see a professional to address the root problem. 

Dr. Praveen Varkey will check your jaw joints for tenderness or pain and listen for pops, clicks, or grating sounds when you move them. They will also ensure that your jaw works well and doesn’t lock when you close or open your mouth. They will also check for issues with your facial muscles by testing your bite.

You may require a full facial X-ray so that Dr. Varkey can better view your temporomandibular joints, jaws, and teeth to rule out any other potential oral problems. Other tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) may also be required. 

dentist in DeSoto doing a full facial X-ray in order to better view the jaw for tmj treatment

If your TMD is severe, Dr. Varkey may need to refer you to an oral surgeon (maxillofacial surgeon) for further treatment and care. This type of surgeon specializes in surgery in and around the entire face, jaw area, and mouth.

At-Home Remedies for TMJ 

Treatments for TMJ can cause pain relief, and there are various treatments you can do at home to relieve some of the TMJ symptoms. Dr. Varkey may suggest that you try some of these remedies together before seeking further medical help:

  • Heat or cold packs to soothe the painful area
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Eat soft foods
  • Don’t rest your chin on your hand
  • Keep your teet apart slightly
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements
  • Learn jaw relaxation techniques

Treatment for TMJ in Desoto

Apart from self-care treatments for TMJ, Dr. Varkey may also recommend the following treatments that can be done at our dental practice in Desoto:

  • Medications such as NSAIDs (anti-anxiety, anti-depressants) that are only available by prescription but can help ease stress which relives jaw clenching
  • Dental work such as braces or overbite correction surgery
  • A splint or night guard
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Low-level laser therapy
  • Trigger point injections
  • Deep heat ultrasound
  • Radio wave therapy
  • TMJ Surgery

Botox for TMJ

Botox treatment for TMJ can be highly effective. Botox treatments have been found to significantly decrease pain and increase mouth movements for three months following the treatment. Another study found that TMJ symptoms improved in 90% of participants with TMJ.

If you would like to consider botox to treat your TMJ symptoms, Dr. Varkey will happily assist you with any questions you might have.

Get TMJ Treatment in Desoto Today

If you would like to learn more about TMJ treatment in Desoto, please schedule a consultation today or give us a call. Our compassionate and experienced team will happily assist you.

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