Headaches, jaw pain, and worn teeth are all common signs of TMJ disorder. The exact cause of TMJ disorder is often difficult to diagnose because it is often the result of multiple factors, such as genetics, dental trauma, and arthritis.
In many cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorder can be relieved through exceptional patient care, early diagnosis, and detailed treatment planning.
Dr. S. Jeremy Tu is an experienced restorative dentist that can assist you with your TMJ symptoms.
As a Dawson-trained dentist, Dr. Tu has a profound understanding of the way the bite functions. For patients who notice a change in their dental health, Dr. Tu can diagnose and treat TMJ disorder in our North Liberty, IA dentist office. If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ disorder, visit Design Dental.
Common Signs of TMJ Disorder
Patients who grind their teeth may be exhibiting a sign of TMJ disorder. In some patients, teeth grinding may even reduce their risk of developing TMJ disorder. Constant stress to the teeth and bite can exacerbate the jaw joints, which can lead to feelings of pain or discomfort.
Dr. Tu will evaluate the fit, function, and appearance of your bite to identify signs of TMJ disorder. The key to improving your dental health and restoring balance to your smile is accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment planning.
At Design Dental we work with you to improve the health and function of your smile. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, you may want to consider visiting our dental office for a consultation.
Signs of TMJ:
- Facial pain
- Tenderness or pain in the jaw
- Neck pain
- Worn or flat teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Headaches, especially in the morning
Treating TMJ Disorders in North Liberty, IA
The effects of TMJ disorder can be relieved through a range of different avenues. The type of treatment a patient receives will depend on the underlying cause of their symptoms. Coupled with restorative dental procedures, we can have your jaw functioning normally in no time.
- Custom sleep guards: Sleep guards are similar to mouthguards in the sense that they prevent the biting surfaces from the teeth from coming together.
- Orthodontics: For crooked or misaligned teeth, orthodontics can help straighten the smile and reduce the risk of TMJ disorder. Orthodontics can gently reposition the teeth and allow the biting surfaces of the teeth to make proper contact.
- Dental Crowns: Crowns can repair damaged teeth and restore a balanced bite.
- Reshaping the Teeth: Reshaping the teeth can help achieve a more balance bit and relieve TMJ pain.
- Oral Surgery: In advanced cases, oral surgery is needed to repair damaged jaw joints.
Dr. Tu also offers treatment for TMJ muscle pain and tension using Botox injections. Strategically placed, Botox injections will effectively relax the muscles and relieve tension so that you can move the jaw more freely and it can rest in a more natural position. Dr. Tu will discuss your symptoms and evaluate your jaw function before recommending Botox. Injections may be placed around the face and in the jaw area, treating muscles that are tense and contributing to your TMJ disorder.
Botox treatment for TMJ will include an initial visit for the first round of injections. Follow-up treatment may be needed after several months, depending on your symptoms and other treatments used to address underlying bite problems.
TMJ Disorder & Treatment: Frequently Asked Questions
How does TMJ disorder develop?
Our temporomandibular joints connect the jaw and skull, allowing the range of motion necessary to eat and speak. However, problems can develop should the joints undergo excessive strain. When the strain leads to TMD, you can eventually experience pain eating or speaking. Jaw joint strain can develop due to injury, tooth loss, misalignment, or bruxism (teeth grinding).
Is an aching jaw the only warning sign?
No, aside from an aching or popping jaw, you may experience chronic headaches, earaches, or discomfort in the neck or shoulders. If you experience pain in and around your jaw, we recommend seeing the dentist for a thorough diagnosis to pinpoint the cause.
Do I need therapy to treat the problem?
Possibly. There are steps you can take at home to reduce the symptoms, but you may need medical intervention. With bite therapy, we may adjustments that improve your bite, such as adding restorations or using orthodontics to correct misalignment. With splint therapy, we give the patient a custom-made oral appliance. Worn at night, the device repositions the jaw to ease strain.
What lifestyle changes can I make to ease jaw joint strain?
We may suggest avoiding hard or chewy foods, cutting back on caffeine, and applying a warm compress to the side of the face to ease discomfort. You can also do jaw exercises, and try to sleep on your side as often as possible.
Relieve Pain and Protect Your Dental Health
When left untreated, TMJ disorder can affect your quality of life. It can lead to painful and uncomfortable symptoms that may begin to take a toll on your overall well being.
If you are a patient dealing with symptoms of TMJ disorder, our team at Design Dental can provide personalized care to help you find relief. The goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms, address damage, and provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to care for your smile.
If you are experiencing headaches, facial pain, and jaw discomfort, contact us today. To schedule an appointment, call (319) 284-4361 or request an appointment online anytime.