Questions about TMJ

Serving patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville, TN

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also referred to as TMJ or TMD, affects millions of people. It is a disorder that is often overlooked by primary care physicians, leaving the patient to suffer in pain with seemingly no end in sight. TMJ disorder means the jaw is misaligned, causing strain and stress on the temporomandibular (jaw) joints. The disorder can cause pain ranging from mild discomfort to excruciating pain that impedes your ability to function. When left untreated, TMD presents chronic symptoms, including pain and frequent headaches.

However, TMD can easily be treated with the use of neuromuscular dentistry, which focuses on finding the ideal alignment of your jaw. When the jaw joints are working together in harmony TMD symptoms will subside, leaving the patient with a comfortable bite, and freeing them of TMD symptoms.

Here are some frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder, and how your Greeneville neuromuscular dentists at Tusculum Dental Care diagnose and treat the ailment.

What causes TMJ disorder?

There are various factors that can cause TMJ disorder that may include:

  • Injury to the jaw, face, mouth, head or neck muscles
  • Bruxism, which is teeth grinding and clenching (often done while sleeping)
  • Dislocation of the jaw joint
  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stress that leads to tightening of the jaw and facial muscles regularly
  • Missing teeth
  • Misaligned or crooked teeth or teeth that have drifted out of place

There could even be other causes of TMD, although this list is some of the more common causes.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

Symptoms of TMJ disorder may vary for each patient, although these are the most common issues associated with it:

  • Pain in the jaw or face
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw when chewing or opening mouth wide
  • Pain in jaws when eating
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Lockjaw
  • Limited range of motion in the jaw
  • Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
  • Uneven or uncomfortable bite
  • Chronic pain anywhere throughout the body

If you experience any one of these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by a Greeneville neuromuscular dentist like the ones on staff at Tusculum Dental Care. We use special diagnostic tools paired with our expertise and experience to determine the severity of your TMJ disorder and derive a specific treatment plan to help you get your life back.

Will my TMJ disorder go away?

TMJ disorder will not go away, although often patients mask their pain with medication, it still does not treat the source of the problem. Masking pain with medication may take care of the pain itself, but does not correct the problem at the source. Headaches will reappear; head or neck pain resurfaces, and often does so with more intensity than before. If you or someone you know suffers from the effects of TMJ disorder, consider a consultation with Tusculum Dental Care.

Why see a neuromuscular dentist about TMJ disorder?

A neuromuscular dentist has specialized training and experience in focusing on finding harmony and balance between the mouth and jaw. Often, physicians treat common symptoms that are associated with TMJ disorder by simply masking the pain. Meaning, TMJ disorder is often misdiagnosed by physicians as another type of chronic disorder. However, a neuromuscular dentist can get to the source of the problem, and provide treatment to eliminate your pain without the need for surgery or prescription medications in some cases.

How is TMJ disorder treated?

Treatment for TMJ disorder will vary, depending on the severity and the cause. However, at Tusculum Dental Care, our Greeneville neuromuscular dentists have found that many of our patients with TMD have experienced a great deal of relief by way of a custom-made oral appliance. By using diagnostic tools that help us determine your proper bite alignment, we can custom design an oral appliance that is right for you. The purpose of the appliance is to hold the lower jaw in proper alignment, which alleviates the irritation of the jaw joint, and other symptoms associated with TMJ.

The oral appliance is usually worn at night, although some patients may need to wear the appliance during the day initially. Since the oral appliance is adjustable, we can be sure to adjust it as necessary to accommodate any changes in your bite.

How soon will I see results?

Many of our patients experience relief from their TMD symptoms almost immediately. However, each patient is different, and it may take a little longer for your symptoms to disappear.

Why choose our oral appliances?

Oral appliances are sold online and in many retailers. However, these are a one-size-fits-all appliance, and cannot possibly provide the best treatment because TMJ disorder must be treated on a case-by-case basis. The oral appliances fabricated at Tusculum Dental Care also are of a higher quality than the store-bought ones. Finding the precise resting position of the jaw is part of what a neuromuscular dentist does in finding relief for the patient, hence why a customized oral appliance is the best treatment. Save yourself time, and money, by skipping these discounted oral appliances from the store that are full of empty promises.

Neuromuscular Dentistry for TMJ Disorder – Greeneville

To learn more about temporomandibular joint disorder or to find treatment for your jaw pain and headaches, contact the office of Tusculum Dental Care today by calling (423) 639-7575 or (423) 639-4176 to schedule a consultation.

Tusculum Dental Care is here to serve the needs of patients in the areas of Greeneville, Jonesborough, and Erwin, Tennessee.