Are you experiencing any of these symptoms or problems associated with your jaw?
- Clicking, cracking, or popping when you open or close your mouth
- Feeling as if your jaw is locking and unstable
- Stiffness and tightness in the jaw muscles
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when your mouth is closed
- Inability to open your mouth fully
- Pain in the jaw when you talk, yawn, or chew
If so, you may have what is called Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder (TMD). The term TMD is most commonly used to describe these problems, as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that allows you to open and close your mouth. TMD problems are orthopedic in nature and therefore involve the muscles, tendon, ligaments and bones that play a critical role in all jaw function.
In fact, every time you open your mouth to talk, eat, smile, or express yourself, you’re using these structures. When something goes wrong with your joints or muscles, not only will you be limited when eating, but the pain can become overwhelming and make your life miserable.
Treatment of Jaw Dysfunction in Long Island and NYC
Once it’s been determined that you have a jaw dysfunction and the cause has been discovered, a number of common treatments most often lead to great benefit.
Though treatment can totally get rid of your pain and restore jaw motion and full eating capacity, there are times when residual problems and symptoms remain. This is not unlike any other joint system that may be helped immensely with treatment but not fully eradicated. At times pain and motion problems resolve fully but joint noises remain.
Making a careful diagnosis is therefore a very important part of the evaluation process. I start with a conversation and then proceed to examine your face, jaw and neck to discover where the trouble lies. With a diagnosis established, treatment options are reviewed. These can include:
- Dietary modification
- Medication (oral, injectable, or topical)
- Self-regulation training (which means changing learned behaviors)
- Oral appliances to address bruxism and clenching or to help stabilize the TMJs
- Muscle trigger point injections
- Steroid injections into tendons and the TMJ’s
- Botox injections into the jaw muscles
- Adjustment of the biting surfaces of your teeth or alteration of tooth positions
- Physical therapy and/or massage
- Biofeedback training
- Cognitive behavioral strategies
- Counseling to address your life circumstances and emotions
- Surgical intervention (such as arthrocentesis, arthroscopic surgery, or arthroplasty)
The vast majority of my patients do exceedingly well, and after a few months are discharged from care. There are always a handful of patients who struggle to get better, but my practice is dedicated to making whatever efforts are needed to get you on the road to recovery.
Temporomandibular jaw syndrome affects 40 million Americans and occurs for a multitude of reasons. These include:
- Bruxism (Teeth Clenching and/or Grinding)
- Muscular imbalances due to overuse
- Underlying medical conditions
- Changes in the way you chew due to missing or sensitive teeth
- Stress and emotions
- Sleep problems
While everyone with temporomandibular jaw disorder (TMD) does not have the same history or problematic symptoms, the most common ones include pain, joint popping, clicking and locking, limited jaw motion and temporal headaches. If you’re suffering and are ready for relief, you’ve come to the right place.