TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, and acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders, or TMD, can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMD is temporary and can be relieved with nonsurgical treatments.
Dr. Austin Westover has completed his mini-residency at the Center for Occlusal Studies in the treatment of TMJ and Craniofacial Pain; he has helped relieve numerous patients of TMJ discomfort and would be happy to speak with you about available treatments if you are experiencing one or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain in jaw joints
- Difficulty or discomfort while chewing
- Locking of jaw joint/limitation in the ability to open one’s mouth
- Facial soreness muscles (most apparent in morning)
- Clenching/grinding of teeth
- Soreness of teeth (most apparent in morning)
- Unexplained ringing in ears/feeling of fullness in ears
- Frequent headaches
- Frequent neck and back pain
After identifying the cause of the symptoms, the dentist will explain the best treatment option for your needs. Listed are some treatment options depending on the severity of the TMJ discomfort:
- Oral splints- used typically in cases of trauma
- Oral orthotics- a mouthpiece worn over the teeth to reposition the jaw into a more comfortable position.
- ULF TENS (Ultra-Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation)- this device is used in physical therapy/medicine to help treat muscular pain of the face and joints.
- Physical Therapy
- Inflammatory reduction dietary counseling
- Injections- placing various medications into affected areas to break the pain cycle.
- Osteopathic/Cranial manipulations
Once a comfortable position has been found, there are various option to help reposition the teeth to keep the joints in this new, comfortable position.