How Does a Dentist Treat TMJ?

How Does a Dentist Treat TMJ?

May 1, 2022

Although each dentist may have their treatment protocol for TMJ, the most common treatment from a TMJ dentist in Dover, NH, is appliance therapy. Dental appliance treatment for TMJ is often the preferred treatment for many patients who do not want the risks associated with TMJ surgery.

Belknap Dental Associates is a premier, multi-specialty, family-friendly dental practice that provides TMJ treatment in Dover, NH. We invite you to meet with our dentist near you to learn more about appliance therapy as an alternative to TMJ surgery.

What is TMJ Treatment?

The acronym TMJ stands for a disorder in a patient’s temporomandibular joints—the hinges in your jawbone allow mobility for eating, speaking, yawning, and more. The temporomandibular joints brace with complex ligaments, cartilage, and muscle network. Although the breakdown of this system can often remain unclear for medical professionals to diagnose, there are a few causes that practitioners point to. These include:

  • Teeth clenching or teeth grinding
  • Erosion of disk cartilage in the temporomandibular joints
  • Genetics
  • Arthritis
  • Previous injury to the jaw area
  • Wear and tear
  • Repetitive leaning on the chin
  • Tumor or cancer

The first item mentioned above — teeth clenching or teeth grinding – makes treating the disorder from a dentist ideal. By visual inspection of a patient’s teeth and oral cavity and conducting a medical history, dentists can detect teeth clenching and grinding. An exam from our dentists for TMJ treatment in Dover, NH, is a significant first step to take before succumbing to TMJ surgery. If your TMJ is advanced beyond treatment with appliance therapy, our doctors and staff can help coordinate the following steps from an oral surgeon.

The second item mentioned above – the erosion of disk cartilage in the temporomandibular joints – is also something that a dentist can identify through advanced imaging. When looking for a dentist near you for TMJ treatment, inquire about their use of advanced technology in imaging capabilities. Our office uses cone-beam computed tomography to capture 3D images of the oral cavity tissues, often revealing the need for TMJ treatment.

The last item on the list – tumor or cancer- can also be targeted to identify through oral cancer screening by our dentists. And since oral cancer can affect any person of any age, often without any symptoms, health professionals recommend you get an oral cancer screening as a part of a patient’s annual dental exam and cleaning.

Wondering if You Have TMJ?

Although one of the most common symptoms of TMJ involves severe pain in the jaw, some of the symptoms may be less identifiable without an exam or imaging from a dentist. For example, dull headaches are common with the disorder. Many associate dull headaches with stress, lack of sleep, or diet rather than TMJ. But when left untreated, a patient’s TMJ will continue to advance to other symptoms:

  • Difficulty or pain when chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Compromised movement of the jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Muscle pain and fatigue in the face, neck, and shoulders
  • Clicking or popping sounds around the jaw joint
  • Tinnitus (also known as ear ringing)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • And more

Rather than wondering if you have TMJ or if the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to something else, why not visit our dentists to evaluate your concerns? Our nationally-recognized professional staff offers comprehensive dental care with the convenience of making an online appointment.

In addition to appliance therapy, our doctors can also provide insight on relaxation techniques, jaw exercises, and possible orthodontic treatment to address problems.

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