TMJ Treatment in NYC and Long Island
Temporomandibular (TMJ) problems are very common in today’s society. In spite of this fact, they are misunderstood by many physicians and dentists. If you are suffering from a temporomandibular problem, here is what you need to know:
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) are the hinges that connect the upper jaw to the lower jaw. When functioning normally they enable pain free, fluid opening and closing of your mouth. Normal function of the TMJ’s enables you to chew, talk, and yawn with comfort. Like all joint systems, the TMJ’s are moved by muscles and stabilized by ligaments. Any problems with the muscles and the ligaments can have a negative effect on the function and comfort of the joints.
TMJ problems are orthopedic in nature and are the result of tired, tight, injured or sore muscles, inflamed tendons, or compromised ligaments, bone and cartilage. As a result, TMJ treatment options are similar to those offered by an Orthopedist when managing a knee problem, for instance.
The first step in TMJ treatment is to try to prevent further injury by avoiding certain foods (bagels, tough crusty breads, tough meats, uncut apples, to name a few) and controlling any daytime behaviors that put strain on your jaw muscles or TMJ’s. These activities include:
- Gum chewing
- Nail and cuticle biting
- Biting on pen caps, straws, plastic items
- Teeth clenching
- Biting on your lips or cheeks
- Wide or frequent yawns
- Holding your glasses between your teeth
- Leaning your chin into your hands while at work, on the computer, or watching TV
- Phone cradling
- Ice chewing
TMJ Treatment Options
At times, compromise of the TM joint and jaw muscles will require the use of an oral appliance (bite plate), which can be compared to a knee brace. These devices have different shapes and forms, can be made of variable materials and have different goals. Most importantly, they cushion the TMJs and diminish tightness in the jaw muscles.
Over the counter oral appliances sold in pharmacies in NYC and Long Island can at times be used to protect the teeth over the short term, but remember, they are not designed to manage a jaw problem over the long term!
More TMJ Treatment Options:
- Jaw exercises and physical therapy
- Medications (oral, topical, injectable)
- Botox injections in the jaw muscles
- Trigger point injections for pain and muscle tension in the jaw and neck muscles
- Behavior modification strategies
- Breathing techniques
On occasion is there is a need to move teeth or do other dental work to manage a jaw related problem. In some instances changing the way teeth come together, or providing dental care to improve the efficiency of the chewing surfaces of the teeth may help jaw related problems.
My TMJ Treatment Philosophy
The care I provide in my NYC and Long Island offices for TMJ problems is a result of experience gained over the last 35 years. Although there is a great deal of science behind my treatment decisions, there is a measure of art as well. Whenever pain problems are confronted, knowing the person attached to those symptoms is critical and will determine which treatments are chosen, how they are sequenced and when they are changed or modified in the pursuit of the best possible outcome.
My relationship with you starts with a conversation. This conversation becomes the foundation for figuring out what it will take to make you feel better. My formula works and I look forward to having the opportunity to guide you onto the path towards recovery.