Trying to manage TMD pain can be stressful and prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest. If you are dealing with jaw pain, headaches, or other TMD symptoms, talk to Bayside dentist Nicholas Rallis, DDS about TMD treatment options. Dr. Rallis has worked with many patients suffering from TMJ-related issues. He can put together a customized treatment plan designed to alleviate pain and discomfort, fast. Read some of our patient reviews to see how we have helped many patients with TMD.
TMJ Disorder is a condition associated with improper function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the delicate joint responsible for jaw motion and bite alignment. When the jaw joints are not in the proper positioning, or there are imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, the tissues of the skull and jaw can suffer unnecessary stress. This often occurs when patients experience malocclusion, or a poorly-aligned bite. The undue pressure on the muscles, nerves, and joints of the head and neck can cause facial pain, muscle tension, and a range of other physical and physiological symptoms. While the condition is common, untreated TMJ Disorder can debilitate your quality of life and may lead to more persistent discomfort, such as recurring headaches or back and shoulder pain. Dr. Rallis works to address the underlying cause(s) of TMD with the goal of minimizing—and preventing the return of—painful symptoms.
Many people experience chronic pain around the jaw or upper neck areas when they have problems with the jaw joint. This pain can be ongoing or come in waves, depending on the individual. Common symptoms include:
There is no singular cause of TMJ Disorder and the condition can arise for reasons unique to each patient. TMD may exist as a result of the natural anatomical structure of your jaw, or can develop due to joint overuse or trauma. Patients with arthritis, or other inflammatory conditions that can compromise the bone and joints, are at a higher risk for developing TMJ Disorder. Other possible causes include:
Many people do not realize how damaging the effects of teeth grinding or clenching can be. If you tend to grind your teeth when you are angry or while you are sleeping, you may be wearing down the tooth structure and putting excessive pressure on the jaw joint. Over time, this can cause TMD as well as chronic pain. In these cases, we can recommend wearing a night guard and performing jaw relaxation exercises to release tension. An occlusal adjustment (bite adjustment) can also be very effective for reducing TMD symptoms.
There are a number of ways to correct dysfunction of the TMJ joint using non-surgical solutions. While the exact technique will depend on the unique factors causing your TMD, Dr. Rallis utilizes the most conservative treatments possible to improve or eliminate your symptoms and restore a well-aligned bite.
In many cases involving unnecessary pressure on the jaw joints, a customized oral appliance worn at night can prevent teeth grinding and minimize painful symptoms. Bite and jaw therapies may also be effective approaches to improve movement of the jaw and decrease muscle tension. If Dr. Rallis discovers that a misaligned bite is causing or exacerbating your TMJ Disorder, restorative dentistry procedures or Invisalign® orthodontic treatment may be very successful in correcting biting irregularities and reorienting the teeth into the proper positioning. Whatever the reason for your symptoms may be, Dr. Rallis will work with you to locate the source of your TMD and develop the most optimal treatment plan for your needs.
Why does TMJ Disorder affect other areas of the body?
Jaw joint dysfunction typically affects the way individuals bite, chew, and generally move their jaw, forcing other structures in the region—such as bone, cartilage, and nerves—to acclimate to the disruption and behave irregularly. Consequently, this often creates a “domino effect” on other areas and leads to physiological imbalances that cause stress in other parts of the body, such as the neck, shoulders, and back.
How long does TMJ last?
Symptoms of TMD typically last as long as it takes for the underlying cause of the jaw joint imbalance to be addressed. That said, most patients do not experience relief from TMJ Disorder until they pursue individualized treatment.
Will TMJ Disorder resolve on its own?
Unfortunately, jaw joint dysfunction caused by TMD will not be corrected without intervention, and the ongoing pressure of other structures behaving irregularly can even cause the condition to worsen. Like all health-related issues, the best solution to resolve TMJ symptoms is timely treatment from a medical professional. However, many cases of TMJ Disorder require nothing more than a customized oral appliance and/or bite therapy to minimize symptoms.
Do jaw exercises for TMJ work?
There are certain jaw muscle relaxation exercises that can temporarily minimize pain or soreness from TMD, but these TMJ home remedies only provide minimal relief from symptoms rather than identifying and treating the root cause of your jaw joint dysfunction. As a result, most jaw exercises have limited effectiveness and symptoms often return.
Look forward to a life free of TMD pain. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Rallis today.