Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that affects over 10% of the population. It is often misdiagnosed and mistreated by healthcare professionals with little to no training in the dental field. This highly complex disorder occurs when the temporomandibular joint connecting the upper and lower jaw becomes misaligned or stressed. Dr. Vernon Sheen offers TMJ treatment in Annapolis, MD to help patients find relief from painful symptoms.
TMJ Symptoms & Signs
Typical symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include tooth wear, chronic headaches, clicking or grinding noises in the TM Joint, as well as pain or difficulty in opening or closing one’s mouth. The signs of TMJ dysfunction are different for every patient. This is why it can be hard for an untrained clinician to reach a diagnosis. TMJ symptoms also often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions. Some of the more common signs or symptoms include:
- Popping or clicking in the jaw
- Difficulty opening and closing the jaw
- Pain when chewing, eating, or opening wide
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Ringing of the ears
- Soreness or tiredness in the face or jaw
TMJ Therapy with Annapolis Dentist Dr. Sheen
Before beginning any TMJ therapy treatments, Annapolis dentist Dr. Vernon Sheen will conduct a thorough exam of your head, mouth, jaw joints, facial muscles, and teeth. TMJ disorders often overlap with other dental problems. A complete evaluation is needed to discover underlying causes and develop a treatment plan specific to your needs.
Dr. Sheen will also ask about your overall health, oral health habits, and any lifestyle habits or medical concerns. He needs this information to understand all aspects of your health and your symptoms. This will help Dr. Sheen choose the right treatment for you and ensure your long-term results.
Our goal is to pinpoint the underlying cause of your bite problem to help cure your symptoms and improve your oral health. Dr. Sheen may also notice the signs of a bite problem during routine dental exams, such as worn down, cracked, or damaged teeth.
TMJ Treatment Options
Dr. Sheen offers a wide range of TMJ therapy treatments designed to cure and correct TMJ disorder symptoms. These include custom mouth guards and restorative treatments or orthodontics to realign the bite, correct damage, and restore oral health.
For many patients, using a night guard or splint can relieve painful symptoms and reduce the strain on the jaw. This type of dental appliance is worn during the night to protect your teeth, and to take the tension off of your jaw joints. The mouthguard will hold the jaw in the proper position. They are made from dental impressions so that they fit perfectly in your mouth and over your teeth.
Restorative dental treatments play a huge role in treating TMJ disorders. Dr. Sheen will use various restorative treatments to repair tooth damage from teeth grinding. He may also recommend restorative treatments to make sure the teeth can make proper contact. Teeth grinding can damage your teeth or wear them down significantly. He may suggest dental crowns or dental bonding to fix your teeth. These treatments can also help align your bite. To learn more our restorative dentistry treatments, see Restorative Dentistry.
If crooked teeth or misalignment is causing your bite dysfunction, orthodontics may be recommended. This type of treatment can straighten your smile and relieve jaw tension. An easy and discreet orthodontic treatment is Invisalign clear aligners. This teeth straightening system uses clear aligners instead of metal brackets and wires to move teeth into proper alignment. To learn more about the Invisalign process, see Invisalign.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
If you have questions about TMJ treatment, begin by reading through our frequently asked questions section. This painful dental concern can cause many issues in your everyday life. We understand seeking treatment is necessary to leading a normal life. If you have further questions about TMJ treatment or if you are ready to schedule your appointment, contact us today.
Is TMJ treatment painful?
No. Treatment for TMJ disorders may sound like a complex and arduous process. In reality, it is just a combination of thoroughly evaluating your underlying conditions and applying restorative dentistry to solve the root cause. The process can include sedation dentistry to ease your fears for those with dental anxiety.
Does insurance cover TMJ treatment?
Ultimately this is up to the dental insurance provider, but dental insurance can elect to provide cost coverage for TMJ treatments. Treatments for TMJ disorders are restorative in nature, so dental insurance may deem them necessary for good basic oral health. It is likely they will offer at least some coverage for your treatment.
Can TMJ go away on its own?
It is unlikely for chronic TMJ to go away on its own. Some dental insurance providers will try to claim that it will, but they’re only there to make money. There are things you can do at home to help with TMJ symptoms before visiting the dentist. Try exercising to reduce stress, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and applying a cold compress to the painful area of your face.
Can stress or anxiety worsen my TMJ symptoms?
Yes, stress and anxiety can worsen your TMJ symptoms. Stress often leads to teeth clenching or grinding, which puts excessive pressure on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. This habit is often seen during stressful situations and can exacerbate TMJ pain and discomfort. With all patients exhibiting signs of a TMJ disorder, we recommend treatment as well as practicing stress management techniques. This may include relaxation exercises, therapy, exercise, or any other activity that can help alleviate TMJ symptoms by reducing the underlying stress and the associated teeth-related behaviors.
What Causes TMJ disorders?
Several things can contribute to a TMJ disorder such as stress, anxiety, or medical problems such as arthritis. Others triggers for a TMJ disorder include lifestyle habits, such as poor postures and too much stress. Many times, however, we notice that a patients TMJ disorder is due to dental problems. Injury to the mouth jaw or teeth can create painful TMJ issues. Teeth grinding and a misaligned bite can also result in a TMJ disorder.
What will happen if I ignore my TMJ problems?
In most cases we treat, it would be very difficult to ignore the symptoms of TMJ. This painful condition should be treated by a trained professional to ensure positive results. If left untreated, it can worsen and lead to further, more intense pain. TMJ pain can actually radiate to the neck, head, and shoulders making it impossible to live a normal, comfortable life. Because of the pain, it is possible to become malnourished and depressed. Additionally, untreated TMJ can cause damage to teeth and lead to long-term dental health problems such as tooth loss. Other problems include airway obstructions, tinnitus, and joint degeneration. Seeking treatment is imperative to avoiding these serious issues.
Visit Our Annapolis Dentist Office for Experienced TMJ Treatment in Annapolis, MD