If you have been diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder, you likely have many questions running through your mind. Dr. Ivan Stein of Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey dedicates himself to putting all patients at ease with the right information about their condition. In this blog post, our West Orange, New Jersey TMJ specialist answers common questions regarding TMJ disorder.
What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?
The terms TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight distinction between the two. TMJ is an abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, which results from chronic stress on the temporomandibular joint. Symptoms of TMD include jaw pain, swelling, toothaches and headaches.
How is TMD diagnosed?
TMD is diagnosed through several tests conducted by a TMJ specialist. The first is a standard oral health examination which can include X-rays and photographs to analyze the joint and surrounding muscles. The TMJ specialist may take impressions of your teeth to evaluate your bite and the position of the joint. If you experience pain when biting down, the TMJ specialist will perform a “clench test” to determine whether the pain is a result of a bad bite. A specialized computer bite analysis test (T-Scan) is also helpful for further assessment of your bite. The specific tests used will depend on your symptoms.
Is surgery the only option?
It used to be that surgical intervention was necessary to alleviate pain associated with TMD. But now, thanks to advances in treatment and technology, patients have several options to choose from, including non-surgical treatments. Orthotic therapy involves the use of a custom-made dental appliance to keep the jaw in a relaxed position when sleeping. This prevents the patient from grinding their teeth and causing further damage and pain to the TMJ. Ultrasound therapy is an alternative option that uses ultrasound energy to deliver heat to the damaged muscle tissues and restore proper blood flow to the affected area. This in turn alleviates the jaw and muscle pain caused by TMD. Dr. Stein can determine which treatment option is best for you following an evaluation of your unique symptoms.
If you would like to learn more about TMD and treatment options in West Orange, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Stein. Contact Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey by calling (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627 today.