Dull recurring headaches, a sore jaw, a bite that seems out of place…what is a person to do? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, often referred to as TMJ or TMD.
Fortunately, TMJ disorders are treatable, and our dentist in Alpharetta, Dr. Brett Silverman provides treatment for TMJ and jaw pain disorders.
What is a TMJ disorder?
The TMJ is a small, delicate joint located in the upper jaw region near the ears. When this joint becomes problematic, it can lead to a host of issues that no one wants to face.
Typically, a TMJ disorder is when the TMJ experiences some sort of trauma, disc slippage, or muscle spasm in the area. If left untreated, this condition can become worse over time, and start to significantly impact your daily activities and quality of life.
Here are just a few of the common symptoms someone suffering from a TMJ disorder may experience:
Jaw pain. The jaw may become sensitive, and hurt for seemingly no reason.
Ear pain. Often times individuals with a TMJ disorder report pain in the ear region.
Headaches. These are typically dull headaches that start in the jaw region and radiate to the temple area.
Pain while chewing. The jaw pain can become worse while eating.
Facial pain. Oftentimes facial pain and numbness is a symptom of a TMJ disorder.
Clicking or popping sounds. A person suffering from TMJ can often hear these sounds, and they are sometimes audible to others.
Jaw locking. Many TMJ patients report short, extreme bursts of pain due to jaw-locking when they yawn or open their mouth wide.
How is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
In order to effectively diagnose TMJ Disorder, your doctor or dentist will look at a variety of contributing factors. During your consultation in the office, your dentist will feel your jaw and listen for sounds when you close and open your mouth. They will take time to notice what range of motion you have in your jaw and mouth while also gently pressing on different areas around your jaw to see if you feel any pain or discomfort.
If your dentist believes you are dealing with TMJ Disorder, the next steps to confirm would include the following:
Get X-Rays: The best possible way to get a clear view of what’s happening in your jaw and mouth would be for you to get X-Rays. The X-Rays will reveal any issues that could be occurring in your jaw or mouth.
Possible CT Scan: In a CT Scan, your dentist will be able to get a clear and detailed visual of any joint issues that could be causing trouble in your jaw.
Possible MRI: An MRI can take these images a step further by providing your dentist with an even more in-depth look at the joints and soft tissues surrounding your jaw.
Possible Arthroscopy: An arthroscopy will allow your dentist to place a small camera through a very thin tube into the joints of your jaw and mouth. This up-close view will help you dentist in diagnosing TMJ Disorder
How our Alpharetta dentist provides treatment for TMJ disorders
There are a variety of ways in which TMJ disorders are treated. Isolating the specific cause of the TMJ disorder (when possible) will influence which treatments our dentist will recommend. An x-ray or MRI may be needed in order to better identify the specific issue, and put forth the most appropriate treatment.
Some common ways to treat TMJ and jaw pain include wearing a mouth guard while you sleep (to prevent teeth grinding), muscle relaxers (depending on the severity of your case), or specific exercises and forms of therapy to heal the TMJ and restore it back to optimal health.
Call us today to schedule your appointment with our TMJ dentist
If you are looking for relief from your TMJ pain, our dentist, Dr. Brett Silverman can help. Dr. Silverman was recently voted one of America’s Best Dentists, and he, along with his friendly, knowledgeable team of dental professionals are here to serve you.