Do you often wake up with a sore jaw or hear a clicking or popping sound while you chew? Do you have trouble opening your mouth widely? Do you suffer from inexplicable neck, shoulder and back pain or migraine headaches?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD). TMD is more common that you may think. More than 10 million Americans suffer from TMD, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Video: How TMJ Treatment Can Help

One of Dr. Ivan Stein’s patients discusses how TMJ treatment helped to improve her quality of life.

Fortunately, West Orange TMJ dentist Dr. Ivan F. Stein has a solution. At Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey, Dr. Stein offers a range of TMJ treatment options to relieve your painful TMJ symptoms, so you can eat, yawn and smile again, without any discomfort.

What Exactly Is TMD?

TMD, often referred to as TMJ, is the result of chronic stress on the temporomandibular joint. This excessive stress is commonly caused by bite misalignment or an imbalance in the jaw muscles. Chronic stress on the TMJ may cause the ligaments in the region to stretch out. It can also cause the jaw muscles to shorten or lengthen to compensate for the stretched ligaments.

Causes of TMD

What causes the added stress on the TMJ that results in stretched ligaments and imbalanced jaw musculature? One of the most common causes of TMD is an abnormal dental structure, which, in turn, is often the result of:

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Teeth clenching
  • A misaligned bite
  • Missing or damaged teeth
  • Dental work
  • Traumatic injury to the area
  • Inflammation related to illness (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis)
  • Chronic stress

TMJ Symptoms

TMD is a progressive degenerative disorder. Its symptoms can be temporary or permanent and can range from mild to severe. More women than men suffer from TMD. TMD often occurs in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40.

  • Jaw pain, or tenderness throughout the jaw, face, head, neck and /or shoulders
  • Restricted range of motion of the mouth (i.e., trouble opening the mouth widely)
  • A jaw that gets “locked” in the open or closed position
  • Clicking, grating or popping sounds when chewing or opening / closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • An uncomfortable, misaligned bite
  • Swelling on one or both sides of the face
  • A tired feeling throughout the face
  • Toothaches, earaches and / or neck aches
  • Headaches and / or severe migraines
  • Hearing problems
  • Tinnitus (i.e., a ringing in the ears)
  • Sinus pain
  • Dizziness or problems with balance

Unfortunately, these painful and burdensome symptoms often interfere with daily life. If you seek relief from the pain and interference caused by TMD, contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey. Dr. Stein is an expert in TMJ treatment. He can treat the underlying cause of your TMD, thereby relieving your painful symptoms. You will be happy to know that TMD can often be reversed with the proper care.

TMJ Treatment Options

Dr. Stein and his team use the most up-to-date diagnostic technology and evaluation techniques to formulate an individualized treatment plan for patients. They utilize a comprehensive treatment approach using a variety of modalities designed to address muscle and joint imbalances in the jaw, thereby eliminating pain and accelerating the healing process.

TMJ treatment options include:

  • Orthotic Therapy. This treatment option involves the use of a custom-fabricated dental appliance that helps maintain a relaxed jaw position, thereby preventing the nerves from over-firing, which in turn prevents muscle spasms. The small acrylic appliance allows the patient to sleep comfortably, without grinding the teeth and exacting further damage.
  • Ultrasound Therapy. This modality delivers ultrasound waves that break up scar tissue and adhesions in the deeper muscle and tissue layers. Ultrasound energy also delivers heat, restoring proper blood flow to the affected area.
  • Microcurrent Therapy. This therapy generates a low electrical current that stimulates the body’s production of ATP (a high-energy molecule) in the affected area. The ATP relaxes the muscle tissue, releasing lactic acid and reducing pain in the immediate area.
  • Low-Level Laser Therapy. This treatment option uses a non-heat laser light to trigger ATP production in the muscles and nerves in the affected area. Again, the ATP relaxes the muscle tissue, thus increasing blood flow, decreasing pain and inflammation, and reducing the time it takes for the muscles and joint tissues in the region to heal. Additionally, the laser sends a signal through the nerve to the brain stem, resulting in a pain-inhibiting response.

If you desire relief from your painful or bothersome TMJ symptoms, contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey today for a free consultation by calling (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627.

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