Temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ, occur when the jaw joints and muscles are damaged. TMJ is often caused by stress, bite problems, or trauma to the head, neck, or face. Symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly between patients.
Some common signs include chronic headaches or earaches, lockjaw, jaw popping, and jaw clicking. Bruxism, also known as teeth clenching and grinding, is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ that can occur unconsciously when asleep. Patients with TMJ may also suffer from shoulder, neck, or facial pain and may already have some worn-down teeth.
Dr. Halim has advanced training with the Dawson Academy that is focused on occlusal disease, an underlying cause of TMJ disorders. He can provide the latest diagnostics and treatment options with the goal of addressing the root cause of your bite problem for a lasting solution.
Call 202-543-2020 or request a consultation with Washington, DC dentist Dr. Nishan Halim if you have noticed any of these symptoms.
Do You Have TMJ?
TMJ is often difficult to diagnose. Many symptoms are signs of TMJ and it can be hard to tell if they’re due to TMJ or something else. Pain is one of the most common. Not only does TMJ cause jaw pain, but it can cause pain and tension throughout the head, neck, and shoulders.
Headaches are a frequent TMJ symptom as well, especially right when you wake up. Persistent pain in these areas isn’t something you should ignore.
With TMJ, your jaw is out of alignment. Your jaw muscles feel tired and you can have trouble when you’re trying to bite or chew things. The jaw often pops and clicks because it’s not functioning and tracking properly. All of these are strong TMJ tells. Especially if you’re experiencing a combination of these, call our office to get a checkup.
Lastly, TMJ usually involves a lot of teeth clenching or grinding. Some of your teeth have to take on more of the burden than others. Uneven distribution of pressure leads to these teeth being more likely to experience wear and tear.
Chips, cracks, and breaks in these teeth are common. Restorative solutions like dental crowns can be used to treat the teeth that have buckled under the pressure.
To determine the best treatment for you, Dr. Halim will start with a comprehensive examination. He will create a customized treatment plan to bring the teeth and bite into proper alignment and alleviate jaw and facial pain. For patients with jaw misalignment or damaged teeth, Dr. Halim will recommend mouthguards, bite correction therapy, or cosmetic and restorative dental treatments.
A custom removable mouthguard can be worn during the night to keep the teeth and jaw in the proper position. This oral appliance can prevent bruxism, or teeth grinding or clenching, which is a common TMJ symptom that can lead to wear and tear. A mouthguard can help alleviate jaw pain and dysfunction.
Bite Correction Therapy
Occlusal equilibration, better known as bite correction therapy, is the process of adjusting tooth alignment. Some TMJ pain is caused by misaligned or crooked teeth. Bite correction therapy can reduce TMJ symptoms including a sore jaw, headaches, and bruxism. Orthodontics such as Invisalign can realign the bite. Jaw surgery may be needed for patients with more severe cases of TMJ.
Cosmetic and Restorative Care
If you have sustained tooth damage from TMJ, Dr. Halim may recommend restorative or cosmetic solutions to repair your smile. Treatment options Dr. Halim offers include dental crowns, dental bonding, or dental implants. Dr. Halim will recommend one or more of these treatments for you depending on the extent of your tooth damage.
Schedule an Appointment
If left untreated, TMJ disorders can cause severe problems with your oral health. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Schedule an exam by calling our office or scheduling an appointment online.