What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is the hinging joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This important joint allows you to talk, laugh, eat, and, essentially, live your life. When this joint is out of place, you can’t perform your activities of daily living. Instead of enjoying your meals, the pain associated with TMJ can make you avoid eating your favorite foods.

During TMJ, your jaw joints disconnect, lock, or unhinge. Though we can’t always trace how it occurs, we do know how to treat it when it does.

A Neuromuscular Approach

Your jaw is a complex system that must work together in harmony for proper function. When it doesn’t work together smoothly, it usually results in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Neuromuscular dentistry looks at how your jaw system works together and identifies problems that cause the dysfunction. With a neuromuscular approach to TMJ treatment, we aim to prevent and correct problems that interfere with your jaw’s harmony. We also use this approach when placing restorations or any type of reconstructive dentistry to ensure the jaw system always works correctly without causing TMJ problems.

TMJ Symptoms

The most recognizable symptom of TMJ is jaw pain. However, other symptoms are common and present themselves in multiple ways. Another common symptom is a tension headache due to jaw tightness. Both of these symptoms stem from stress in your jaw and joints. Additionally, teeth grinding can increase lockjaw, headaches, and jaw pain.

In addition to these common factors, other symptoms include facial pain and worn teeth. A lot of people who experience TMJ grind their teeth or flex their jaw at night. In the end, this leads to extreme tension in your face and head. Because of this, many of our patients will report severe headaches in the morning that continue throughout the day. Additionally, they experience jaw pain, neck pain, and pain in the cheeks.

Oftentimes, patients don’t realize that they have worn down teeth because it happens over time. However, when our patients have TMJ, they often grind their teeth. When you grind your teeth, you are slowly wearing down your teeth, night after night. In other words, your bite becomes less durable. Also, grinding your teeth makes you more susceptible to cavities and dental decay.

Treatment Relieves Your Pain

When we treat TMJ, we use an advanced dental method called TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). If you’ve never heard of TENS, it’s similar to a massage with electrical currents. This treatment method relaxes your muscles and relieves your natural muscle habits. Therefore, TENS relinquishes your jaw and releases habits such as unnecessary muscle clenching. Additionally, electric currents release endorphins, which naturally allow for pain release.

After TENS treatment, we can treat your TMJ with a clean slate. Sometimes, your jaw does well with routine TENS treatment. In other cases, we recommend an oral appliance to make sure your jaw remains in a restful position while you sleep. In rare cases, surgery can help your teeth get back to a normal, restful state. Whatever the case, we will help you get back to a healthy, painless smile with TMJ treatment.

Your TMJ Specialist in River Edge, New Jersey

If you experience frequent headaches, jaw pain, or neck pain, ask your dentist at Marlen Elite Dental Wellness how to help manage your TMJ symptoms. Instead of avoiding your pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Martirossian by calling us at (201) 546-8512.