TMJ Therapy: Addressing Jaw Pain and Other Problems

Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:25 PM — by Neil L. Starr, DDS

A jaw pain x-rayDental patients in the Washington, DC area can count on Dr. Neil L. Starr. A leading dentist, he offers a wide array of cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry procedures to improve dental health and wellness.

A number of patients suffer from jaw pain, which could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. Let's go over this kind of dental health problem in more detail right now.

About TMJ Disorders

A TMJ disorder occurs when the jaw joint is misaligned or does not function as it should. This could be the result of a number of different things, including issues with the jawbone, issues with the cartilage, problems with the muscles of the jaw, or issues with nerves near the joint.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

The most common signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:

  • Lockjaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking
  • Popping
  • Crunching
  • Ear pain

Many people who experience a TMJ disorder will note multiple symptoms, though the most telltale signs and symptoms are the locking and popping of the jaw.

Common Causes of TMJ Disorders

The most common causes of TMJ disorders include the following:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Malocclusion
  • Jaw injury
  • Arthritis
  • The natural aging process

Non-Invasive Treatments for TMJ Disorders

When it comes to non-invasive treatments for TMJ disorders, the most common treatment tends to involve the use of a mouth guard. A mouth guard prevents direct contact between the upper and lower teeth during sleep, and it's ideal for treating TMJ disorders that are linked to teeth grinding. The mouth guard protects teeth from damage while reducing stress on the jaw.

When TMJ disorders are linked to crooked teeth, patients may undergo orthodontic treatment to improve dental alignment. Improving dental alignment can have a significant effect on reducing jaw pain and jaw strain.

Medications may also be prescribed for TMJ disorders to relax muscles and alleviate pain.

Minimally Invasive Treatments for TMJ Disorders

When dental treatments are ineffective for treating TMJ disorders, patients may undergo various minimally invasive therapies to help reduce the pain in the jaw and improve mobility and motion of the jaw. This may include steroid injections or arthrocentesis, which involves the use of a needle to irrigate the joint and address inflammation.

Advanced Surgical Therapies for TMJ Disorders

When less invasive therapies for TMJ disorders prove ineffective, that's when surgical treatments are considered. These surgical treatments can range in complexity and invasiveness depending on the needs of the patient, though generally open jaw surgery is avoided whenever possible given the size and location of the post-surgical scar and the time required for healing.

Determining the Ideal Treatment for You and Your Needs

During your consultation at the practice, we will go over all of your options for treating your TMJ disorder. This will ensure that you get the treatment you need to help reduce pain and restore overall function of the jaw in the process.

Contact Dr. Neil L. Starr for TMJ Disorder Treatment

For more information about treating jaw pain and other serious health problems, it's of the utmost importance that you contact our advanced dental care center today. Dr. Neil L. Starr and his entire team will work with you to ensure that you have healthy teeth and gums, and that all parts of your mouth function properly.

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