Exceptional TMJ Treatment in Yonkers, NY
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint of the lower and upper jaw on either side of your face. If you place your fingers just below your ears and open your mouth, you can feel it working. Imagine, the amount of work this joint does in a single day. It helps you chew, drink, speak, breath yawn. Now imagine what it would be like if you started having trouble with this joint. It could impact so many aspects of your life, and even though most cases of TMJ disorders are benign, if left unchecked the condition could lead to bone damage, insomnia and even tooth loss. If you think you could have some form of jaw disorder, call Dr. Morrow in Yonkers, NY right away to discuss your options for TMJ Treatment.
TMJ vs. TMD
These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. TMJ is the physical joint of your jaw whereas temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJD) is the condition where the use of the joint causes pain, dysfunction or immobility. These disorders can develop for a number of reasons like persistent teeth grinding (bruxism), damage to the bone or muscles ligaments, stress, wear to the cartilage disk or injury and disease. Because there are so many factors, TMJ disorders are difficult to diagnose and treatment. But with Dr. Morrow’s training and expertise, he can help you make the process a little easier.
There are three main categories of TMD include:
- Muscle disorders. This often manifests as pain or discomfort in the muscles used to control the jaw. You might feel tension in the facial muscles, muscles in the neck and even the shoulders.
- Derangement disorders. This type comes from an injury or trauma that damages the internal mechanism of the joint. This includes damage to the bone, dislocation of the jaw or even a displaced disk.
- Degenerative disorders. This type comes from prolonged and excessive use of the jaw and manifests in the form of arthritis, destruction of cartilage or severe inflammation.
What are the Symptoms of TMJD?
- Pain while chewing
- Muscle spasms
- Jaw joint pain
- Tooth sensitivity
- Swelling around the jaw
- Chronic earaches not caused by infection
- Difficulty chewing or opening your mouth
- Changes in the alignment of your bite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Speech abnormalities
When Should I See a Dentist?
Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between a minor irritation and a serious condition. A good rule of thumb if you think you might have TMD is talk with Dr. Morrow. You can ask yourself these questions:
Do you commonly clench or grind your teeth?
Do you wake up with stiff and sore muscles?
Does your pain or tension get worse when you press your teeth together?
Is it hard to open your mouth wide?
What are Some Conservative Treatments for TMJ Disorders?
In mild cases, TMJ disorders are fairly harmless and do not need any form of invasive treatment. So your dentist or health care provider might simply recommend rest and a diet of soft foods while the injury heals and symptoms subside. You can try TMJ exercises and relaxation techniques to help loosen up the jaw and lessen symptoms.
TMJ Treatment Options
Dr. Morrow can also prescribe a number of different methods to help with TMJ dysfunction. These include:
- Night guards. These plastic appliances are uniquely designed to fit precisely over your natural teeth and help keep your jaws and teeth apart while you sleep.
- Anterior positioning appliances. These oral devices push your lower jaw slightly forward and relieve pressure on your jaw joint. Dr. Morrow often uses this appliance to encourage proper alignment of the disk while the jaw heals.
- Orthodontics or stabilization appliances. To reduce discomfort, Dr. Morrow might decide to use orthodontics to shift your teeth back into proper alignment.
- Surgery. In most severe cases, the jaw might require complete reconstruction and restorative dentistry.
How Do I Know Which TMJ Treatment is Right for Me?
Dr. Morrow treats TMJ disorders on a case-by-case basis. Because there are so many contributors to this dysfunction, consulting with the dentist is the only way to determine, which treatment options will work best for you.
Contact our office in Yonkers, Westchester County, NY, today at (914) 476-4040 to schedule your appointment for evaluation or to ask any questions you may have about TMJ disorders.