Occlusal & TMJAn Overview
Millions of people suffer from chronic headaches, unexplained earaches and other facial pain each year. In many cases, dental problems and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are to blame. Few dentists and physicians are trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders, also known as occlusal disease.
Dr. Raj Upadya of Metropolitan Center for Complete Dentistry in East Hanover, NJ is one of the leading dentists in the country for the treatment of TMJ disorders and the complex dental problems that occur as a result of long term TMJ dysfunction.
Most patients who suffer from TMJ dysfunction do not recognize the symptoms or realize that they have a dental related problem. There are a number of factors that contribute to TMJ dysfunction, the most common symptoms include teeth grinding, frequent headaches, neck and facial pain, clicking or popping in the jaw joints, and tooth wear.
TMJ treatment depends entirely on the patient. Dr. Upadya treats TMJ symptoms through a wide range of treatments ranging from splint therapy and night guards to bite correction procedures.
COMMON CAUSES OF TMJ DISORDER
There is no single cause for TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:
- Trauma to the head, neck, or face
- Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
- Stress and other environmental factors
COMMON TMJ SYMPTOMS
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly among patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches
TMJ DISORDER FAQ’S
Can I live with TMJ, without getting treated?
Yes, TMJ pain can go away on it’s own, but there is no guarantee that it won’t come back. Your dentist can evaluate your specific issue and tell you if it warrants treatment or not.
Do I have to visit a TMJ specialist?
No. There is no specific medical or dental specialty of certified experts. Your dentist is the best resource for TMJ diagnosis and treatment.
What can alleviate TMJ pain before I visit the dentist?
You can do a couple of things to temporarily alleviate jaw pain. Take an icepack and apply it to the affected area. Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can help reduce facial swelling.
Do I need surgery to get rid of TMJ?
No. Surgery will only be deemed necessary if you have severe TMJ issues and jaw deformities. Our dentist in East Hanover, NJ provides conservative options for mild to moderate TMJ problems.
What should you not do with TMJ?
Patients with TMJ should never chew gum. They should also avoid eating hard or chewy foods, grinding or clenching their teeth, and only chewing on one side.
How should I sleep with TMJ?
Patients should sleep on their back if they have TMJ. This will put less pressure on their jaw, while supporting their neck, head, and shoulders.