COVID-19 Notice - Read More

TMJ FAQ from DentAlign NYC

If you’re among the 40 million Americans suffering from a TMJ disorder, it’s essential to treat your pain. The experienced and compassionate team at DentAlign NYC has helped many patients with their TMJ pain at our dental practice in New York City. You might be wondering what TMJ stands for, what the symptoms of it are, and how it’s treated. It’s natural to have questions about TMJ, which is why we’ve created these answers to some of the questions we’re most frequently asked about the condition. Learn more about TMJ, and be sure to contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation to overcome the pain.

What Does TMJ Stand For?

TMJ is a common abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. Try saying that ten times fast! That joint is the hinge where your lower jaw is attached to the rest of your body. Your TMJ is a complex joint that’s able to move in different directions. The temporomandibular joint anatomy consists of two compartments. The superior compartment is responsible for translational movement, while the inferior compartment permits rotation movement. You can place your fingers on your jaw in front of your ears and open and close your jaw to feel this joint in action. If that experience is painful, you’ll want to schedule a consultation.

What Are the Symptoms of TMJ?

As one of the most sensitive joints in your body, it’s not uncommon to experience TMJ pain. TMJ disorder can result in many symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches or eye pain
  • Clicking sounds while eating or talking
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Popping sounds in the ear
  • Sore jaw muscles
  • Pain in the temple, shoulder, or neck
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Limited ability to open jaw
  • Sensitive teeth
  • And more

What Causes TMJ Pain?

If you’re wondering what causes TMJ, you’ve come to the right place. There are many things that can contribute to your pain, including teeth grinding, stress, trauma, TMJ dislocation, tooth alignment, or an underdeveloped jaw. There can also be correlations between tongue tension and TMJ. The causes of TMJ pain may also include improper bite, overbite, underbite, crossbite, or malocclusions. However, TMJ pain is not always related to your dental health and may be caused by emotional or biochemical imbalances. When you experience heightened stress, depression, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, anger, or frustration, you’re at a higher risk of developing TMJ dysfunction. Emotional imbalances sometimes lead to excessive teeth grinding or bruxism. TMJ can also be aggravated by habits, including chewing gum, biting your nails, bad posture, and open-mouthed yawning. You may be able to control biochemical imbalances by eating the right foods as well as vitamins and minerals. You can also reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine, and other related substances.

Is Surgery Needed for TMJ?

Surgery can be used to treat TMJ disorder, but it’s often a last resort. Most TMJ treatments start off with conservative, non-invasive options and gradually progress if needed. TMJ surgery can be used in severe cases, and there are two types of surgeries to treat TMJ symptoms. The first is TMJ arthroscopy, which is a minor invasive surgery that takes place in a dental office such as DentAlign NYC. The recovery time for this procedure is about one week. The second type of TMJ surgery is a total joint replacement. This is performed by an oral surgeon and can require four to six weeks to heal. Your TMJ surgery will vary based on the type you need and your insurance.

Who is at Risk of TMJ?

TMJ disorder is fairly common, but most often occurs in people between the ages of 20 to 40. Women are four times more likely to suffer from this syndrome than men are.

What Are the Treatment Options for TMJ?

Sometimes home remedies are effective, but not in all cases. If home remedies for TMJ disorder prove ineffective, you’ll need to seek treatment from your dentist. If you suffer from TMJ pain, you can try applying a cold pack or heat pack to your affected joint. Try to relieve stress with relaxation techniques such as massage. Eat soft foods because harder foods can build up stress further. Some patients find relief using aromatherapy or essential oils such as lavender to relax their muscles and relieve pain. TMJ exercises can sometimes help, as well. Medical TMJ treatments may include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Pain-relieving medication
  • Splint therapy
  • TMJ mouth guard
  • Arthroscopy
  • Joint replacement surgery (rare cases)

How Do I Know if I Have TMJ?

The truth is that everyone born with a jaw has TMJ. However, some people use the abbreviation to describe TMJ disorder, which can also be abbreviated as TMD or TMJD. If you suspect something is wrong with your TMJ, you’ll need to see a doctor or dentist to be sure.

What is Splint Therapy?

As previously mentioned, splint therapy is a possible treatment option for TMJ disorder. A splint is a bite guard or mouth guard that you wear over your teeth. This prevents grinding of the teeth, clenching of the jaw, and other movements that can trigger TMJ pain. The splint can be hard or soft and is customized based on the individual patient’s needs. When wearing the splint, your mouth’s muscles relax, and your teeth are prevented from grinding. The splint supports your bite in the most favorable position, releasing tension in your jaw.

Does My Insurance Cover TMJ Treatment?

It depends on your insurance company and your insurance plan. While some procedures are covered by dental insurance, others might be covered by your health insurance policy. Check with both of your insurance providers to learn more.

Why DentAlign NYC?

DentAlign NYC and Dr. Kenn Kakosian DDS provide you with immediate relief for your TMJ pain. We’ve helped many patients improve their overall wellness by relieving their TMJ pain. Our New York City dental office treats your unique symptoms using a variety of treatment options. Our affordable TMJ solutions will have you feeling better without breaking the bank. We use numbing agents, trigger point injections, electrical neural stimulation therapy, and other immediate relief tactics, as well as oral surgery when necessary. If the condition persists, we may move on to orthodontic appliances to improve your bite and jaw position. We provide all our patients with a complimentary consultation to walk you through all your TMJ therapy options.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you’re ready to find relief from your TMJ pain, trust the experienced professionals at DentAlign NYC. Our team has helped many patients just like you, and all of our treatment plans are unique to your individual case. We also help patients with sleep apnea as well as a whole host of dental services, including Invisalign, veneers, root canals, dentures, teeth whitening, TMJ treatment, and more. We encourage you to contact us today to schedule your appointment and complimentary consultation.

Why choose us?

  • Over 30 years of experience
  • Complimentary consultation
  • Invisalign Diamond Plus provider
  • Located in the historic Chrysler Building
  • Invisalign Provider for over 15 years