The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is essential to chewing and speaking comfortably. It connects the lower jaw to the skull. When this joint is damaged, a patient may experience a variety of symptoms that can affect their quality of life.
Dr. Gregory Hillyard and Dr. Alexandra Monroe are Media, PA dentists that are dedicated to finding the right treatment options to eliminate pain and improve symptoms over time. Learn more about the signs of TMJ as well as the various solutions their office provides.
Signs of a TMJ Disorder
Common symptoms and signs of a temporomandibular joint disorder can include:
- Teeth grinding
- Difficulty chewing or moving the jaw
- Worn or damaged teeth
- Cracked or fractured teeth
- Jaw clenching
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, please contact our office at 610.756.0649. Our dentists will help you find a solution that works for your specific needs.
TMJ Treatment in Media, PA
Dr. Monroe has studied oral and facial musculature and was trained through the renowned Academy of Facial Aesthetics. She utilizes Botox to not only erase wrinkles but also address TMJ and bruxism. Using botulinum toxin (Botox/Xeomin), she treats the muscles of the jaw to lessen the contraction of these muscles. When the muscle’s strength decreases, it relaxes and eliminates orofacial pain.
Botox works well for wrinkles because it paralyzes these muscles that cause them. If the muscles aren’t frequently contracting, the wrinkles slowly fade. This is what makes it an ideal treatment for TMJ problems as well. The muscles in the jaw are tense and tight, causing pain and discomfort. They aren’t able to fully relax on their own, especially if you’re grinding your teeth at night or subconsciously. Botox allows these muscles to relax, helping to eliminate that pain.
For patients who grind their teeth, it is important to give them an extra layer of protection to stop teeth from grinding and prevent further damage to the teeth. A custom-designed mouthguard or nightguard is the ideal solution to address tooth grinding and teeth clenching.
Restorative and Cosmetic Dentistry
Teeth that have sustained damage from teeth grinding benefit from restorative and cosmetic dentistry treatments. These treatments are a good way to restore function, beauty, and health to your smile. We offer a full range of dental implants services for patients who lose teeth as a result of advanced TMJ disorder. Dental crowns, tooth bonding, and composite or porcelain veneers can cover teeth for an aesthetically pleasing smile.
You may only need one of these treatment options, or multiple. When you come to our office, we’ll do a thorough exam of your jaw and teeth. We want to discern if there’s damage to your jaw and teeth due to TMJ symptoms. Taking into account this as well as your budget, we’ll come up with a personalized treatment plan that’s specific to your unique needs.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
What is the most effective treatment for TMJ?
The most effective treatment for TMJ disorders varies depending on the severity and underlying cause of the problem. Over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs, and relaxation techniques can help alleviate symptoms. In many cases, bite guards are highly effective. Bite guards prevent clenching and grinding, which reduces stress on the jaw muscles and TMJ.
A dentist or medical specialist may also recommend physical therapy to improve jaw muscle function or orthodontic treatment to correct bite issues. In rare instances, surgery may be necessary. Consult a dentist or medical doctor to determine the best action for your situation.
What is the first-line treatment for TMJ?
The first-line treatment for TMJ disorders typically involves conservative, non-invasive approaches to manage symptoms and alleviate discomfort. To reduce inflammation and pain, your dentist or specialist may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Ice packs or moist heat can also help alleviate discomfort in the affected area.
Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques or engaging in stress management can help minimize jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which often contribute to TMJ problems. Consult a dentist or medical doctor to determine the most suitable first-line treatment for your specific TMJ issues.
Which dentist is best for TMJ?
When looking for the best dentist to treat TMJ disorders, it’s essential to consult a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and managing these conditions. Start by discussing your concerns with your general dentist. A general dentist can evaluate your situation and refer you to a specialist if necessary.
Additionally, look for general dentists who use cutting-edge technology when treating patients with TMJ issues. Such treatments may include computerized jaw tracking systems, three-dimensional imaging, diagnostic wax bite analysis, and more. Lastly, dentists specializing in orofacial pain or oral and maxillofacial surgery can handle TMJ issues. When selecting a dentist, you should consider their expertise and patient reviews.
How can I heal my TMJ naturally?
Healing TMJ disorders naturally is possible. However, the severity of your condition will determine how effective healing naturally will be. You can utilize relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises. These techniques may help relieve stress and tension that further aggravate the TMJ.
Additionally, physical therapy and daily exercises to stretch your jaw muscles can be beneficial in relieving pain associated with TMJ. You should also make some dietary changes. Eating softer foods and avoiding hard foods that require a lot of chewing can help ease your TMJ symptoms. Lastly, while these natural remedies may help, it’s essential to consult a dentist or doctor to ensure you’re addressing the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder.
Can massaging treat or cure TMJ disorders?
Massaging the muscles around the jaw can relieve some patients experiencing TMJ discomfort. You can help relax the muscles, reduce tension, and alleviate pain. While massage cannot cure TMJ, it can be a helpful part of an overall treatment plan. That treatment may include lifestyle changes like avoiding hard or chewy foods. However, massaging may not resolve the root cause of TMJ disorders. Therefore, it’s important to consult your physician before beginning massage therapy for TMJ to ensure it is safe and effective.
How long does TMJ take to heal?
The healing time for TMJ disorders can vary depending on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and the chosen treatment approach. For patients with mild TMJ issues, symptoms may resolve within a few weeks with over-the-counter pain relievers, jaw exercises, and lifestyle changes. However, the healing process may take several months or even longer in more severe cases or when treatment involves dental appliances, physical therapy, or orthodontic intervention. Remember that every patient’s scenario is different. Only a dentist or medical doctor can estimate the most accurate recovery time.
Contact Our Media, PA Dental Office
If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, call 610.756.0649 to request an appointment with Dr. Hillyard or Dr. Monroe. We will meet with you to evaluate your needs and recommend appropriate dental care.