TMJ Treatment Lakewood

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) refers to a variety of conditions that affect TM joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves. TMD may occur when the jaw twists during opening, closing or side-motion movements. People with TMD may experience these symptoms:

  • pain in or around the ear
  • headaches and neck aches
  • tenderness of the jaw or jaw muscles
  • jaw pain or soreness that is more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
  • jaw pain when chewing, biting or yawning
  • difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
  • sensitive teeth when no other dental problems can be found

TMD affects more than twice as many women (particularly those of childbearing age) as men and is the most common non-dental related chronic facial pain.

The source of these aches and pains may be related to one or both of the temporomandibular (TM) joints. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together, with a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones, to make different movements for chewing and speaking.

Stress and TMD

Stress is thought to be a factor in TMD. Even strenuous physical tasks, such as lifting a heavy object or stressful situations, can aggravate TMD by causing overuse of jaw muscles, specifically clenching or grinding teeth (also known as bruxism).

What can I do to treat TMD?

At our office we will fully evaluate your TMJ, muscles of the head and neck and how your bite comes together or occlusion. We may take additional x-rays to help in the diagnosis. The treatment may be as simple as resting the jaw to as complex as jaw surgery. For most people the treatment is somewhere in between. We may recommend one or more of the following:

Modify the pain

This can mean resting the joint, taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, or applying moist heat to the painful areas.

Splint Therapy. If your teeth, muscles and jaw joint (TMJ) are not in harmony with each other, your jaw muscles may tense up and cause moderate to severe muscle pain. We can create a acrylic splint that covers your teeth and by having regular adjustment can relax the muscles of the head and neck. Over several weeks to several months this creates a perfect bite. Creating a perfect bite typically relieves the pain symptoms and more permanent treatment can be completed.

Fixing Malaligned Teeth

–After your muscles symptoms improve, we may suggest a comprehensive bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontic treatment, restorative treatment (ie. crowns, veneers, bridges, implants) to realign the teeth, or in advanced cases, possible jaw surgery may be needed to correct the alignment of the teeth.

There are occasions where a referral to TMJ specialist may be appropriate.

Remember, your smile speaks before you even say a word!

What Patients are Saying

I was in for a cleaning with Kelly. She was awesome, as always! I can’t say enough good things about Northstar; they always do a great job.

Craig R.
Another visit on 7/28 was again totally AOK. Dr. Adler and Jennifer were very efficient and very thorough, as was Connie in checking me out. Thanks good folks.

Esther H.
Always a positive experience. Dr. Adler is fantastic. Have been very satisfied here for over 10 years. Customer service is spot on. I highly recommend them.

Shelly S.