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TMJ Disorder: Dental Problems and Jaw Pain

Dr. Degel Oct 23, 2015

Digital x-ray demonstrating TMJ painAlthough the teeth are rooted in the jaw, many people do not realize that dental problems and jaw pain go hand in hand. At our Queens general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry practice, Astoria Dental Group, we provide comprehensive oral health care, including a range of procedures designed to restore health and comfortable function to the jaw, such as TMJ therapy.

If you are suffering from jaw pain, you may be surprised to learn that scheduling a consultation with an experienced dentist such as Dr. Clifford Degel or Dr. Carmen Every-Degel should be the first step you take toward finding a solution. Your jaw pain could be a symptom of TMJ disorder, or it could be a symptom of an even larger oral health problem such as a faulty bite, misaligned teeth, jawbone degradation, or gum disease.

We invite you to schedule your initial consultation at Astoria Dental Group today.

What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the ball-like joints that join the lower jaw to the skull on either side of the head, just in front of the ears. These are among the most commonly used joints in the entire body. You use them every time you open your mouth to speak, bite, chew, laugh, yawn, breathe through your mouth, or smile wide. When the TMJs become inflamed, fatigued, or otherwise damaged, the result can be intense jaw pain, as well as pain that radiates to the ears, head, shoulders, neck, back, and arms.

What makes TMJ disorder so tricky to diagnose is that, while it can be a condition unto itself, it can also be a symptom of larger underlying oral health problems that must be treated. TMJ disorder can be a symptom of:

  • Orthodontic problems, such as misalignment and malocclusion (i.e., faulty bite)
  • Jawbone recession due to tooth loss
  • Gum disease, especially in its more advanced form, periodontitis
  • Bruxism, or chronic tooth grinding, especially in one’s sleep
  • Trauma to the mouth

In such cases, before TMJ disorder can be treated, the underlying oral health problem must first be addressed. Fortunately, Drs. Degel and Every-Degel offer a variety of treatments for the above issues, from Invisalign® aligners to provide discreet orthodontic corrections to dental implants to replace missing teeth and halt bone loss.

Treatment for TMJ Disorder

In addition to resolving any underlying dental issues, Drs. Degel and Every-Degel can also provide treatment specifically for TMJ disorder. Depending on your specific case, your treatment plan may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Stress, smoking, poor diet, alcohol consumption, and other lifestyle habits can all contribute to TMJ disorder. Reducing or eliminating these effects in your life can help to control your jaw pain.
  • Physical therapy: Jaw exercises can help to strengthen your jaw muscles and reduce the effects of TMJ disorder.
  • Splint therapy: A custom night guard can protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism and help keep your jaw in a relaxed position while you sleep.
  • BOTOX® therapy: BOTOX® Therapeutic injections have been proven to lessen the effects of TMJ disorder.

Learn More about Dental Problems and Jaw Pain

To learn more about dental problems and jaw pain, please contact Astoria Dental Group today.

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