Do you suffer from chronic headaches, unexplained earaches, jaw pain, or other facial pain?
If so, you may be one of the millions of people suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD). The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. Temporomandibular joint disorders are a complex group of problems more commonly known as TMJ disorders. Indianapolis, IN dentist Dr. Amy Marckese treats TMJ disorders using night guards, mouth guards and splint therapy.
What Causes TMJ?
Most patients who suffer from TMJ disorders do not recognize the symptoms or realize that they have a dental related problem. They develop for many reasons and are often the result of several issues with your jaw and bite. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM Joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Crooked teeth can also cause stress on the jaw and result in TMJ.
Whatever the cause, the results may include excessive tooth wear, chronic headaches, clicking or grinding noises in the TM Joint, as well as pain or difficulty in opening or closing one’s mouth.
Our Patients Say It Best
I dreaded going to the dentist before I found dentalSpa. Not only that, but Dr. Marckese-Braun diagnosed a bite problem that has put a stop to chronic migraines I have had and been medicated for forever. I highly recommend her. Not only can you feel like you’re in a spa, but also get the best dental work around!
–Jolene C, Zionsville, IN
Common TMJ Symptoms
TMJ pain and symptoms can decrease a patient’s quality of life and cause suffering. The symptoms of TMJ dysfunction can vary greatly between patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult. It’s important for you to seek care if you have any of these symptoms and especially if they are persistent. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Headaches, especially upon waking
- Jaw pain
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches
Treatment for TMJ
If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, Dr. Marckese may create a customized oral appliance that is specially designed for you and help to alleviate your symptoms.
An oral appliance is a removable device that helps to keep the teeth and jaw in proper position during sleep and prevent teeth grinding or clenching. Prolonged teeth grinding or clenching can lead to tooth wear and contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
Dr. Marckese also provides a range of services to repair teeth that have been damaged as a result of TMJ dysfunction. Restorative treatments may include:
What is the main cause of TMJ?
While doctors are not entirely sure what the root cause of TMJ is, they do know there are certain factors that can contribute to the severity. Misalignment or injury to your teeth or jaw, teeth grinding, arthritis, and stress are all contributing factors, and may lead to muscle tightness in the jaw and overall discomfort related to the syndrome.
What will happen if TMJ is not treated?
If left untreated, TMJ is likely to worsen and become more severe over time. The longer it goes untreated, treating TMJ will also be more difficult for your provider. Symptoms may worsen, such as chronic and debilitating headaches or dental degradation. In order to prevent this, it is important to seek care early.
How do dentists treat TMJ?
There are multiple treatment options available, depending on the severity of your condition. In mild cases, treatment may include being prescribed medicine or oral therapies to help strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles. If your case is more severe, there are multiple surgery options available to you. If you are recommended surgery, be sure to discuss the potential benefits and risks or your procedure to find what is right for you.
How long does it take to heal after TMJ surgery?
Recovery time from TMJ surgery can vary depending on the surgery performed. Most of the options are outpatient procedures, meaning you will be home on the same day. You may need multiple days of rest following your procedure for a full recovery, so be sure to consult your dentist for your own recovery plan.
Schedule a Consultation
TMJ therapy can make a dramatic improvement to your quality of life. If you think that you may have TMJ dysfunction, call our Indianapolis dental office at 866.486.0230, or schedule an appointment with your restorative dentist in Indianapolis, IN today.