TMJ Treatment Williamsport, PA

TMJ Treatment An Overview

Do you experience constant jaw pain in the morning? Do you have jaw pain from a recent accident?

TMJ jaw pain treatment in Williamsport PA

Trauma to the jaw joint, wearing of the jaw cartilage, or malocclusion could cause damage to the temporomandibular joint, or jaw joint. A TMJ-related disorder or temporomandibular disorder (TMD) occurs when the jaw does not function properly, adding unnecessary stress to the surrounding muscles and nerves. Patients often experience painful and chronic symptoms and may experience tooth damage or wear that becomes more noticeable over time.

A TMD can manifest in several ways. Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
  • Discomfort or soreness in the neck, shoulders, or face
  • Stiffness, popping, or clicking of the jaw
  • Earaches or frequent ringing in the ears
  • Pain in the jaw muscles, tired jaws
  • Excessive tooth wear, chipped teeth, cracked teeth

There is typically no one singular cause of a TMD, commonly called “TMJ”. Joint damage can happen suddenly or occur gradually over time. Stress can frequently exacerbate TMJ and is often a key factor behind painful flare-ups.

Patients who grind their teeth are more likely to experience TMJ, and conversely patients with a TMD or bite problem are more likely to experience teeth grinding. Bruxism most commonly occurs while a patient is asleep and may be difficult to diagnose. Teeth grinding puts added stress on the jaw and can damage teeth and the jaw joint. Dr. Kim looks for the telltale signs of teeth grinding during routine exams, such as worn teeth and damaged enamel.

TMJ Treatment What to Expect

TMJ disorder is a painful condition that leads to jaw pain and refers to a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint, which is where the mandible, or lower jaw, meets the upper jaw near the temple. A problem with this joint can create a wide range of symptoms, making it sometimes difficult to determine the exact cause.

Dr. Kim has advanced training in the treatment of bite-related disorders such as TMJ. She will perform an occlusal analysis to evaluate the function and stability of your bite in an effort to identify the factors that should be addressed with treatment. Every patient is unique in this regard and treatment will be tailored to your dental health condition, symptoms, and lifestyle habits.

Once TMJ is officially diagnosed, our dentist can provide treatment that will properly realign your jaw and eliminate or reduce the symptoms.

There are several ways in which TMJ can be treated, and the exact approach differs depending on your specific needs. Typical approaches to TMJ treatment include:

The most common treatment option is the use of a custom night guard. Fitted much like a sports mouthguard, this oral appliance will reposition the jaw and prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This relieves muscle tension in the jaw and over time, helps the bite relax into a natural, comfortable position.

TMJ Treatment FAQs

What happens if you leave TMJ untreated?

Without treatment, TMJ problems can be debilitating for your daily life. The pain and headaches can become chronic, making it hard to eat or speak. It can also lead to other issues like depression and anxiety.

What causes TMJ flareups?

One of the main causes of TMJ flareups is stress. Hormonal changes, even ones like birth control, can also contribute, as can certain medications that prompt you to clench and grind your teeth. Eating certain hard or chewy foods like apples or steak can trigger a flareup as well.

How long do TMJ flareups last?

TMJ flareups can last anywhere from a few hours to several days or more. Eventually, TMJ can be a chronic, almost permanent condition.

How long does it take TMJ to heal?

It all depends on your case. In some cases, it can go away on its own in a week or two. However, TMJ can be a chronic condition. It can take months or years or never actually go away. You may only be able to manage the symptoms.

What can I do to speed up TMJ healing?

There are some things you can do to avoid TMJ flareups and speed up the healing process. Avoid hard and chewy foods that take a lot of chewing or a lot of pressure to break down. They make the jaw and the jaw joint work harder. Support your jaw when you yawn and avoid making any movements that you notice hurts. There are also exercises and massages you can do to help the jaw joint.

Do I need TMJ treatment?

While TMJ causes popping and clicking sounds in your jaw, if you don’t have pain with it, it may not be a TMJ problem. If you’re noticing increasing jaw or facial pain, it’s likely to be your TMJ. You may also notice your jaw being unable to move in certain ways or your teeth wearing down quickly in particular areas.