TMJ Disorder & Treatment
No one treatment can resolve TMJ Disorder completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Whelan will work with you to find the perfect therapy to relieve you of this pain!
What are TMJ Disorder?
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder is a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
What is the cause of TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth causing jaw muscles to tighten and stressing the TMJ. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
The more times you answer “yes” to the questions below, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder.
Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth
Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken, or worn?
How can WE help YOU?
Call today to set up an initial consultation with Dr. Whelan and our specialized team in our Nashua office. During your initial consultation, we will gather all the information necessary to diagnose and treat your disorder.
Treatment & Therapy
There are various treatment options available to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Whelan will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
Stress management techniques or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as professional therapies.
Professional therapies may include:
- Occlusal guards/appliance therapy may be recommended for short or long term use
- Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to establish ideal occlusion
- Botox injections have been shown to alleviate muscle tension and decrease discomfort
“Dr. Whelan has been giving me Botox injections for my TMJ. I felt relief immediately!
“I had an TMJ consultation with Dr. Whelan. She is so knowledgable and focused on your overall wellness. She ordered me an occlusal guard with a deprogrammer to wear at night. I no longer wake up with a headache!
“Incredible. The only words to describe Dr. Whelan’s TMJ expertise. I have been battling the symptoms of TMJ for years…within a week of Dr. Whelan’s treatment plan my pain was gone.”