Chattanooga Dental Arts - Chattanooga, TN

TMJ Treatment

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause significant discomfort and affect your quality of life. At Chattanooga Dental Arts, we provide specialized TMJ treatment to help alleviate these issues. Our expert dentists in Chattanooga, TN, Dr. Daniel McGovern and Dr. Jancy A. Parkerson-McGovern, provide comprehensive care to address your TMJ concerns. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start your journey to a pain-free life.

What Is The TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull, functioning like a sliding hinge. This joint allows you to perform essential functions like chewing, speaking, and yawning. When the TMJ is not functioning correctly, it can lead to various issues collectively known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the body, as it combines hinge and sliding motions. Each joint has a disc between the ball and socket, which cushions the load and allows for smooth movement. When this system malfunctions, it can cause significant discomfort and hinder your ability to perform daily activities.

What Is TMD?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) encompasses a range of problems related to the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement. TMD can result in significant discomfort and impede your daily activities. The disorder can affect one or both joints and can be temporary or last for years. The severity of TMD varies from person to person, but it generally disrupts normal activities like eating and speaking.

TMD is often mistakenly used interchangeably with TMJ, but TMJ refers specifically to the temporomandibular joint, whereas TMD refers to the disorder affecting the joint and associated structures.

Signs & Symptoms Of TMD

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of TMD is crucial for early intervention. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Limited range of motion in the jaw
  • Swelling on the side of the face

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek a professional evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and improve your quality of life.

Causes & Risk Factors Associated With TMD

Several factors can contribute to the development of TMD, including:

  • Jaw injury: Trauma to the jaw or head can damage the TMJ.
  • Arthritis: Conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can affect the TMJ.
  • Genetic predisposition: A family history of TMD can increase your risk.
  • Clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism): Often related to stress, this can exert excessive pressure on the TMJ.
  • Stress: Stress can cause tightening of facial and jaw muscles, leading to TMD.
  • Poor posture: This can strain neck and jaw muscles, contributing to TMJ problems.
  • Malocclusion (bad bite): Misalignment of the teeth can affect the way the TMJ functions.

Understanding these causes and risk factors can help in the prevention and management of TMD. If you identify with any of these risk factors, it is advisable to discuss them with your dentist.

Treatment For TMD

These are the common treatments for managing and alleviating TMD symptoms:

  • Custom-made mouthguards: These appliances can help reduce teeth grinding and clenching, alleviating pressure on the TMJ. Wearing a mouthguard at night can prevent damage caused by bruxism and provide relief from jaw discomfort.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises designed to strengthen and stretch jaw muscles can be beneficial. Physical therapy may include jaw exercises, ultrasound therapy, and manual manipulation to improve jaw function and reduce pain.
  • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage pain and inflammation. 
  • Stress management techniques: Learning to manage stress can reduce muscle tension. Techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, and biofeedback can be effective in managing TMD symptoms.
  • Facial rejuvenation: Injections of neuromodulators can effectively relax overactive jaw muscles by blocking muscle spasms and providing relief from pain associated with TMD.
  • Surgical options: In severe cases, surgical intervention might be necessary to correct the issue. Surgery is considered only when other treatments have failed. Options include arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery.

Our dentists are dedicated to providing the best care tailored to your specific needs. We use the latest techniques and technologies to ensure effective treatment. Our goal is to alleviate your discomfort and improve your overall oral health.

Experience Comprehensive TMJ Treatment

Choosing Chattanooga Dental Arts for your TMJ treatment means opting for trusted providers who prioritize your comfort and health. Our team in Chattanooga, TN is committed to delivering exceptional care and ensuring that you achieve lasting relief from TMD. We understand the impact that TMD can have on your life and strive to provide solutions that restore your quality of life.

Our approach to TMJ treatment is comprehensive and patient-centered. We begin with a thorough evaluation to accurately diagnose your condition. Based on the diagnosis, we develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the root cause of your symptoms. Our goal is to provide long-term relief and prevent the recurrence of TMD.

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, don’t wait to seek treatment. Schedule your consultation with our expert dentists today and take the first step towards a pain-free life. 

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