Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) is a painful neuromuscular condition of the jaw joint that results from an imbalance in the interaction of the joint, teeth and neuromuscular system. It can cause headaches, tooth damage and many other symptoms. TMJ is often misdiagnosed, leading to years of chronic pain and progressive dental damage. People who have TMJ typically do not realize that the symptoms are related to a dental problem, nor do their doctors. Dr. Robert Logan of Integrated Dental Aesthetics in the West Milford, New Jersey area, provides conservative, non-surgical treatment of TMJ symptoms.
Common TMJ Symptoms
TMJ symptoms can be debilitating and frustrating. Some of the symptoms directly affect your teeth and mouth, but others are more elusive and confusing. Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Pain when chewing
- Jaw pain
- Limited jaw movement
- Locking jaw
- Pain when opening mouth wide or yawning
- Popping, clicking or grinding jaw joint
- Speech abnormalities
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
- Receding gums
- Painful or sensitive teeth
- Dental problems that do not improve with treatments
- Restorations that fail
- Teeth grinding
- Chipped teeth
- Ringing ears (tinnitus)
- Congested ears or ear pain
- Sinus problems
- Tingling or numbness in hands
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Poor posture
- Facial pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Sleep deprivation
- Premature aging
Understanding the Symptoms of TMJ
Many of the symptoms of TMJ, especially those which are not obvious dental issues, are the result of the constant muscle tension TMJ causes. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and poor posture fall into this category.
Damaged teeth, tooth pain and failing restorations may be a result of inappropriate forces where your teeth do not meet up properly. Ear symptoms, including pain, tinnitus, vertigo and stuffy ears, may be related to the close relationship between the jaw joints, ear structures and muscle imbalances. You will have noticed this relationship if you have ever chewed gum to “pop” your ears on an airplane ride or awoken with ear pain after sleeping with your jaw in an improper position.
Misdiagnosis of TMJ Symptoms
The symptoms of TMJ can be very debilitating, but we can help you get rid of them. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of TMJ is very common, and can lead to a lifetime of chronic pain and other serious problems. Proper evaluation of the temporomandibular relationship is an essential part of our examination process.
Most doctors and even dentists are either unaware of TMJ or know little about it. When patients complain to their doctors of TMJ headaches or other pain, they are often prescribed painkillers and/or antidepressants. Both can be dangerous and neither will provide long-term relief from TMJ symptoms. Pain killers may initially bring some temporary relief, but eventually they stop working because the underlying problem has not been corrected. Most popular antidepressants have also been associated with an increase in teeth grinding (bruxism), which can exacerbate the problem.
Dr. Robert Logan was first credentialed in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Craniomandibular Disorders in 1984. Expanding on this traditional mechanical approach to TMJ, Dr. Logan then undertook extensive training in neuromuscular dentistry, achieving fellowship status at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. Thanks to the expertise he has developed over the years, all of our treatments are non-invasive and reversible, meaning that we do not proceed to definitive treatment until symptoms are resolved to the satisfaction of the patient. Let us show you how we can give you permanent relief from TMJ symptoms without surgery.
To learn more about TMJ, non-surgical TMJ treatment, and neuromuscular dentistry, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Integrated Dental Aesthetics, in the West Milford, New Jersey area, today.