TMJ Treatment Williamsport, PA

TMJ Treatment An Overview

TMJ jaw pain treatment in Williamsport PADo you experience constant jaw pain in the morning? Do you have jaw pain from a recent accident?

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:

  • Dental veneers
  • Dental crowns
  • Traditional orthodontic treatment or Invisalign
  • Orthodontics devices to prevent teeth grinding
  • In severe cases, surgery might be required to reposition the bone.

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.