TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
Understanding TMJ Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment with Dr. Richer
No treatment can completely resolve TMJ disorders, and treatment takes time to become effective. Our oral surgeons can help you have a healthier, more comfortable jaw.
Trouble With Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★Patients Just Like you
Stop looking further for your oral surgery needs, Dr. Auerbach is all you need to know. A few minutes into my consultation visit and I already knew I was in great hands. He was very professional, great on answering all questions I had, and gave me as much time as I needed without making me feel rushed. There's a reason the NJ Devils trust Riverside. I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed in just under an hour. Thankfully, he did a great job on that as well as preparing me for what the recovery process would entail. He personally followed up with me the next day to check in on me and see if I was having any complications....which I wasn't, cause he's just that good.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★Patients Just Like you
I cannot say enough about Dr. Auerbach and the staff at Riverside Oral Surgery! Dr. Auerbach did an awesome job extracting four of my son's wisdom teeth. His patient care and concern really touch my heart. He made himself available to answer my questions and it was obvious that he cares about his patients and their families. The ladies at the front desk, along with the nursing staff that I encountered were knowledgeable, gracious, and kind! Furthermore, the place is immaculate and stylish! I highly recommend Dr. Auerbach and Riverside Oral Surgery. God bless all of you!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★Patients Just Like you
My gums were infected and super sensitive, I went to my normal dentist who told me it was nothing serious and sent me on my way. It got worse and my dentist didn’t answer the “emergency line” so I reached out to Dr.Auerbachs office and they were kind enough to get me in due to the pain I was feeling. As soon as I sat in the chair Dr.Auerbach knew exactly what the problem was and assured me it will be treated properly and efficiently. The staff was so kind and prompt. I was so thankful to have gotten in when I did. Dr.Auerbach came highly recommended, which I can reassure you, he is the best. I will always be using him and his office. They really do make you feel calm and like things will be taken care of! I would recommend to anyone 10/10!
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken, or worn?
The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
Are you ready to book your appointment?
Request an appointment online or call an office near you! Our friendly and caring staff can assist you with any questions.
Our oral surgeons can utilize various treatment options to improve your jaw’s harmony and function. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, our oral surgeons will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
Applying ice and heat
Exercising your jaw
Practicing good posture
Resting your jaw
Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
Eating soft foods
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night. It also helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw, and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/a day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day, or just at night, to move your jaw into the proper position. Appliances also help protect tooth wear.
What About Bite Correction or Surgery?
If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options, such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring, are sometimes needed but are reserved for severe cases. Our oral surgeons do not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and non-reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.