Do you have headaches or jaw pain that your doctor hasn’t been able to explain? Have common treatments not worked or provided only minimal relief? Do you have other unexplained symptoms like ringing in the ears, neck pain, or tooth wear? If so, then you may have one or more temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD). These jaw conditions are hard to diagnose and treat, and many doctors and even dentists will miss them.
Dr. Karthilde Appolon is trained in neuromuscular dentistry, an approach to treating TMJ that can give great results with noninvasive, reversible treatments. Please call (212) 557-8668 today for a TMJ evaluation at Appolon Dental Group in Columbus Circle.
Symptoms of TMJ
One of the reasons why TMJ can be hard to diagnose is that it can cause many different symptoms, and not everyone experiences the same set of symptoms. People (and even doctors) can also ascribe the symptoms to other conditions. Some symptoms commonly associated with TMJ include:
- Jaw pain
- Irregular jaw motion
- Jaw popping or clicking
- Tooth wear, chipping, and cracking
- Bite that feels wrong
- Neck pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Back pain
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers
How can one simple jaw condition lead to these wide-ranging symptoms? It’s because the jaw is at the intersection of many of the body’s most important systems, including the airway, the body’s major nerves, important arteries, and the neck vertebrae. Dysfunction in the jaw can impact these other nearby systems, and the effects can radiate outward via muscle tension and pinched nerves.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a broad label that describes many different disorders of the craniofacial systems, including the jaw and chewing muscles. Although not all forms of TMJ have been described in detail, there are three common types that are well known:
- Myofascial pain disorder (MPD)
- Disc displacement (DD)
- Degenerative joint disease (DJD)
MPD is the most common form of TMJ. In this form of the disorder, imbalance in the jaw causes muscle dysfunction that can lead to muscle pain and other effects, such as pinched, pressured, or overburdened nerves.
DD occurs when the cushioning disc between the bones in the joint comes out of place. This is related to jaw symptoms like jaw noises and irregular motion.
DJD occurs when the jaw joint is being damaged by degenerative conditions, such as arthritis. DJD can impact the bones, cushioning disc, ligaments, or other jaw structures.
We offer TMJ treatment that works well for MPD, DD, and related forms of TMJ. We start by working to relax your jaw muscles. This can help the jaw find a more comfortable position, which, in turn, can lead to more normal jaw function. We do this using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), a kind of mild electric massage. Once the muscles are relaxed, many people will see improvement and even relief from their symptoms. For some people, periodic TENS is all that’s necessary to stop TMJ symptoms.
Other people benefit from a bite splint that can hold the jaw in a position that keeps the cushioning disc in place and allows the muscles to relax. A bite splint might be worn all the time at first, but for most people nightly wear is all that’s necessary to maintain relief.
Some people who have good results with a bite splint want to get the same results without the splint. For them, bite reconstruction can be used so that their teeth maintain their jaw in the desired position, giving long-term relief without a bite splint.
For people with very advanced TMJ, jaw surgery may be the only solution, but it has a low success rate. Which treatment is right for you depends on the type and stage of your TMJ.
Are You Looking for TMJ Treatment in Midtown?
If you have TMJ symptoms and your doctor hasn’t been able to get you the relief you’re looking for, we can help. Please call (212) 557-8668 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Karthilde Appolon at Appolon Dental Group in Columbus Circle.