The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the spot where your jaw connects to your skull to allow you to open your jaw easily. Sometimes the temporomandibular joint is injured or damaged, causing a painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). If you are experiencing pain or hearing noises when you move your jaw, schedule a consultation with a member of our skilled dental team to determine if you have TMD. At our practice, People's Dental in Springfield, MA, we use advanced equipment to assess and treat your TMD to alleviate symptoms. Your TMJ treatment will be based on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, but some options include oral appliances (mouth or night guards), bite alteration, dental restorations, and more.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction could be brought about by a single injury to the jaw, chronic jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism), or dental malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth). Medical conditions that can result in TMD include a tumor in the temporomandibular joint or arthritis. In some cases, the reason behind TMD cannot be determined, but if you are experiencing symptoms and signs, we can still diagnose and treat your jaw. A few of the most common symptoms of TMD are pain or tenderness in the jaw joint, spasms in your facial muscles, feeling as though your jaw is stiff or stuck, and headaches that start around your ears. Another symptom is hearing cracking, popping, or clicking whenever you use your jaw.
What To Expect
To help diagnose a temporomandibular dysfunction, we will carefully listen and understand your concerns before performing a physical examination. During the exam, we will assess the movement of your jaw and search for indicators of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and misalignment of your teeth. Our team will also feel the jaw joint and surrounding area for any tenderness and inflammation. We may request digital x-rays of your lower face or a bite analysis to look for underlying causes that will determine your treatment method. Based on the exam, we will go over your treatment options that might include a dental appliance, orthodontics, or restorative dentistry (bridges, crowns, and dentures).
Along with procedures to address the underlying cause of your temporomandibular joint dysfunction, our team can recommend other strategies to alleviate pain and other symptoms at home. This includes a soft food diet, avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. We can also give you exercises to strengthen your jaw or prescribe medicine to relax your facial muscles (and to alleviate pain, anxiety, or inflammation).
Continue to attend follow-up visits so our team can check the progress of your TMJ therapy. If your treatment is not helping, we may look at a different approach. Once your TMD is fully treated, you should still schedule annual dental exams at People's Dental to keep your jaw and teeth healthy.
Dental insurance coverage for TMJ pain diagnosis and TMD therapies will vary, so we will contact your carrier to calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Whether you have dental insurance or not, we will go over cost estimates when explaining treatment options. To make all treatments affordable, People's Dental accepts many payment methods and we can help you find low-interest medical financing.
Advanced TMD Treatments
Pain in your jaw makes it hard to chew, speak, and enjoy your everyday life. Since there are many possible causes, symptoms, and solutions for TMD, schedule a consultation with our dental team at our office in Springfield, MA. We will give you a thorough examination before diagnosing the problem and discussing treatment options. Contact our team at People's Dental to get more information and make an appointment.