The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that about 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ, aka TMJ disorder or TMJ syndrome. (TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome -- now that's a mouthful!) If you have chronic jaw pain, hear a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth or consistently wake up with headaches, you could be one of them. The good news? Discomfort doesn't always last long. The not-so-good? Severe pain that persists for weeks generally means it's not going to get better without the help of a TMJ dentist or TMJ specialist.
Common Treatments for TMJ Disorder
TMJ syndrome is a complex disorder affecting -- in different ways and to different degrees -- the jaw joints, facial muscles, facial nerves and surrounding tissues. Scientists are uncertain about the causes of TMJ disorder, although stress, hormonal fluctuations in women, misaligned bites (malocclusions) and teeth grinding are considerations.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder are also expansive. You might experience chronic jaw pain while others have persistent neck pain or earaches. Thus, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for TMJ. And though treatment of TMJ syndrome is not recognized by the ADA as a dental specialty, many dentists do have experience and expertise treating patients with TMJ. These professionals often go by the name "TMJ dentist" or "TMJ specialist."
At Lakeview Family Dental, we can customize a treatment plan that addresses your specific problems and eases your particular ailments. According to the TMJ Association (TMJA), there are approximately 50 types of treatments for TMJ disorder.