TMJ Disorders and Treatment  in Madison NJ

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder also is a condition that focuses on the misalignment of the jaw causing severe trauma to various parts of the body.

An incorrect bite means simply that your upper and lower teeth do not align properly when closed. This mean that your muscles in your jaw are put under stress and cause trauma and pain to your neck, shoulders, jaw and head. The muscles change to accommodate this incorrect bite which leads to various symptoms that include :

  • Headaches
  • Jaw Pain
  • Clicking of the Jaw Joint
  • Grinding of teeth
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling of the face

How Your Bite Can Be a Real Pain

Bite problems can result in chipped or worn teeth, loose teeth or painful jaw muscles and/or joints called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, most commonly referred to as TMD. Treatment options are based on your symptoms, the factors contributing to the breakdown of your teeth, and what your goals are for your dental health.

Diagnosing the Underlying Issue

It is important to diagnose the cause of the bite problem before designing treatment to address the symptoms . Just relieving pain or repairing broken teeth doesn’t solve the underlying problem. To diagnose your problem, a functional analysis will be done. This analysis is a multistep procedure that analyzes your bite and provides diagnostic information. Your diagnostic evaluation will look at:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Worn teeth
  • Changes in the position of your jaw
  • Changes in the size and shape of your teeth
  • Pain in your jaw, face, neck, shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Earaches

Diagnosing TMD with a Deprogrammer

The deprogrammer is a short-term removable appliance that erases the muscle’s memory of how the mouth closes and how the teeth originally fit together. By removing the teeth from the joint function equation, it allows the jaw to close in its ideal, physiologic position, therefore diagnosing the issue. Based on the results of the deprogrammer, long-term treatment options will be discussed. Some of the possible conditions and their signs and symptoms that may be diagnosed include:

  • Constricted Chewing Pattern
    • Thin or chipped front teeth
    • Tooth position that has changed over time or spaces developing around front teeth
    • Front teeth touch when speaking
    • When jaw is relaxed, the lower jaw comes forward
    • Pain when eating hard or chewy foods
    • Avoidance of chewing gum or bagels
    • More comfortable with jaw open
    • History of orthodontic treatment especially involving extraction of teeth prior to treatment
  • Occlusal Dysfunction
    • Bite that results in an uneven wear pattern, with more wear on back teeth
    • Discomfort in the jaws that is unrelated to night time grinding or clenching
    • Unsure of where to rest teeth
    • Sense that there may be more than one place to bite together
    • Continued wear of teeth despite the use of a nightguard
    • Awareness that bite has changed
  • Parafunction
    • Associated with unusual habits that cause teeth to rub together
    • Thumb or finger sucking
    • Cheek, lip or nail biting
    • Postural habits (repetitive moving of the jaw to an unnatural spot)
    • Use of musical instruments that aggravates jaw
  • Bruxism
    • Sleep disorder that is not able to be controlled voluntarily
    • Clenching or grinding of teeth while sleeping
    • May be related to stress
    • Extreme muscle activity and jaw pressure
    • May be associated with other sleep disorders like Restless Leg Syndrome
    • Can occur sporadically

Once a Bite Problem Diagnosis is Made

Treatment options may include adjusting the bite, restoring you to your best bite by changing the shape of your restorations, or orthodontic treatment. The goal of treatment is to make you comfortable and pain-free and prevent further damage to the TMD or teeth.