Throbbing head pain and chronic tension in the neck and shoulders can keep you from feeling fully present in your life. General pain in the head, neck, jaw, or ears may inhibit your enjoyment of smiling, speaking, or eating your favorite foods. What is worse, the pain relievers you have been relying on may not be doing their job anymore, and you may not know where to turn for answers.
These are concerns that we frequently hear from patients with TMJ disorder or TMD. This oral condition can be somewhat devious and deceptive, causing symptoms that do not seem related to the mouth at all. The crafty nature of TMJ disorder makes it difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis even from a general physician or dentist, in many cases. At Lerner & Lemongello, we have the method of diagnosis and treatment that enable patients to get back to a comfortable life.
What is TMJ disorder?
The TMJ joints sit at the back of the jaw. They connect the mandible to the skull and are responsible for the varied oral movements that take place daily. TMJ disorder describes an interruption in the optimal function that may be caused by inflammation, misalignment, erosion, or other factors.
In some cases, TMJ function returns to normal after a short time of rest and, in some cases, physical therapy. This is typically reserved for instances in which overuse is the primary cause of dysfunction. When symptoms do not improve with rest and lifestyle changes, they can worsen. What begins as slight stiffness and clicking may evolve into:
- Ringing or pain in the ears.
- Chronic tenderness in the jaw.
- Frequent tension headaches or migraines.
- Immobility of the jaw, lockjaw.
Self-care may not address the cause of TMJ disorder, but your dentist can help you return to a comfortable state. In our office, we begin with a comprehensive examination that evaluates bite, the condition of restorations such as crowns and fillings, and the structure of the jaw itself.
Treatment for TMJ disorder ranges from over-the-counter medication to prescription muscle relaxers and pain relievers to physical therapy to bite guards and more. What is important is that the treatment is in line with the cause and severity of dysfunction.
Do you have unresolved jaw, head, or neck pain that may be related to your joints? Contact our Palm Beach Gardens office for your TMJ assessment and treatment.