Effective Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as TMD, can cause debilitating side effects, ranging from chronic headaches to neck and jaw pain. Fortunately, Dr. Stephen J. Malki offers nonsurgical treatments to address TMJ disorder at our practice in Bergen County, NJ. Many of our patients find relief from a simple customized mouth guard.
What Causes TMD?
The TMJs connect the lower jaw to the base of the skull, functioning as a hinge. When these joints do not work properly, it leads to pain in the jaw and adjacent musculature and supportive tissues. Injuries to the jaw, arthritis, and grinding or clenching the teeth are common causes of TMD. Other times, TMD is associated with incoming wisdom teeth or a misaligned bite.
What Are Common Symptoms?
TMD sufferers can experience a range of symptoms that detract from their overall quality of life. Teeth grinding, and the stress it places on the jaw, is considered both a cause of TMD and a symptom of it. Other classic signs of TMD include:
- Pain in the neck, face, shoulders, or upper back
- Ringing in the ears
- A popping sound when you open and close your jaw
- Difficulty fully opening the mouth
- Chronic headaches
- A bite that feels misaligned
- Tooth damage, such as fractures
- Swelling on one side of the face
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have TMD and require specific treatment to alleviate your concerns. The only way to know for sure if you have TMD or another ailment causing these symptoms is by attending a consultation with a dentist.
Your Initial Exam
At your initial exam, Dr. Malki will observe your bite pattern, manually feel for inflammation and tenderness, and possibly take x-rays of the joint area. This information will help him determine the position of the mandible and alignment of the teeth and jaw joints.
A customized mouth guard can encourage proper jaw alignment, inhibit clenching and grinding, and protect the teeth.
TMD discomfort essentially derives from the difference between where the teeth are positioned, and where the joints strain to be positioned. Since the causes and symptoms of TMD vary, your treatment plan will be individualized to meet your specific requirements.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Simply put, treatment for TMD is meant to achieve harmony between the teeth, jaws, and supportive tissues, improving both the way you chew and the way your bite aligns when at rest.
TMD patients typically find relief with non-surgical therapies, including stress management techniques, orthodontics to correct misalignment, medications to relax the strained muscles, and anti-inflammatories to address discomfort. Physical therapy might also be recommended to relieve stress and encourage improved jaw alignment.
Custom Oral Appliances
Customized mouthguards, also known as dental splints or oral appliances, can maintain proper jaw alignment and break the cycle of teeth clenching and grinding. These devices are a cost-effective way to protect the health of your teeth and restore your comfort.
Receive the Treatment and Relief You Need
If you are enduring uncomfortable TMD symptoms, find relief by contacting our office and booking your appointment today. You can also speak with a team member at (201) 646-0800. We look forward to using our expertise to enhance your quality of life.