TMJ Treatment Williamsport, PA

TMJ Treatment An Overview

tmj treatment williamsport paTrauma to the jaw joint, wearing of the jaw cartilage, or malocclusion could cause damage to the temporomandibular 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 in different patients. 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

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.

The most common treatment option is the use of a custom night guard. Fitted much like a sports mouth guard, 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.