Does your jaw feel sore in the morning? Do you experience jaw clicking or popping?
When the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), and teeth don’t make proper contact, it creates instability in your jaws and mouth. This often leads to pressure and pain in the neck, face or mouth. Occlusal therapy and TMJ treatment are methods of restoring balance to eliminate stress and bring the masticatory system back into harmony.
Dr. Roy Eskow and Dr. Adam Eskow are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. We utilize advanced technology including the iCAT cone beam imaging system to take 3D scans of the head, jaws and mouth. These scans allow Dr. Eskow to get a precise look at the relationship between these structures and identify potential problems.
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw. TMJ is also widely used to describe a complex group of disorders that are characterized by pain and limited mobility in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding tissue.
When people say “I have TMJ” they usually mean that they are suffering from a jaw disorder. Your temporomandibular joints are a system made up of your muscles, ligaments and jaw bone. They make it possible to open and close your mouth and work in tandem when you chew, speak or swallow. The TMJ operates the lower jaw- your mandible- as it moves forward, backward and side to side.
Each TMJ has a disc of squishy cartilage between the ball and socket of the joint. The sponge-y material supports the load of your jaw while also enabling it to open wide and rotate or glide. Any problem that hinders this system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly is called a TMJ disorder. Dr. Eskow can diagnose and treat this jaw problem to alleviate the discomfort from, and stop the progression of, dental issues that TMJ disorders can trigger.
Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Patients with TMJ Disorders (TMD) often exhibit signs and symptoms very different from one another, which makes diagnosing TMD a challenge. Some of the more common signs of TMJ dysfunction are:
- Popping, clicking or grating of the jaw (TMJ joint)
- “Locked” jaw and/or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Frequent headaches
- Difficulty when eating or chewing
- Chronic earaches without ear infection
- Soreness or tiredness in the face and/or jaws
TMJ Treatment Options
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in dentistry, particularly when it comes to TMJ treatment. Each problem is unique to the individual patient and treatment planning is entirely dependent on the diagnosis. Our goal is to treat TMD with the most conservative procedure possible.
For minor cases, there are several methods of treatments for TMJ disorders. Below are simple home remedies you can use before moving on to more advanced treatment with a doctor or dentist. These steps follow a “less is more” approach in treating TMJ disorders:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following therapies for TMJ may include:
- Oral appliance therapy (such as a night guard)
- Dental splints
- Occlusal equilibration, making changes to the fit of the bite by reshaping and/or removing tooth structure
Schedule a Consultation
If you are concerned that you may have a bite problem or TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. Roy Eskow or Dr. Adam Eskow. They will do a thorough evaluation of your bite function and overall dental health condition, then offer the proper TMJ treatment in the Washington DC or Bethesda MD area.