Are you suffering from pain in your jaw or the sides of your face? Do you find it difficult to open and close your mouth without pain? If you answered yes, then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular disorder, more commonly known as TMD. Patients with TMD experience pain and discomfort associated with their temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short. The temporomandibular joints are the two complex joints that connect your jaw to your skull.
Dr. Nechama Brand and Dr. Abraham Stein are downtown Chicago dentists who can help diagnose and treat mild cases of TMD. TMJ treatment can alleviate all the painful symptoms associated with TMD. They also offer restorative dentistry treatments to correct tooth damage caused by this disorder.
What is TMJ Disorder?
A temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ disorder or TMD, causes pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular jaw joint. Patients with a TMJ disorder can feel jaw pain or myofascial (muscle) pain in the face. Sometimes this discomfort goes away on its own, but more often than not, long-term painful dental symptoms develop as a result of TMD.
Causes and Symptoms of TMD
Diagnosing TMD can be complicated. Finding the cause is also important but is equally difficult. Our dentists work one-on-one with each patient to determine the cause, find the right treatment and alleviate the pain as soon as possible. Sometimes, there are several reasons that a patient suffers from a TMJ disorder. The most common causes of TMD we encounter include:
- An uneven bite
- Joint damage from an injury
- Cartilage damage from arthritis
- Any injury to the joint area
The signs of TMD can vary greatly from patient to patient. This is why we will engage in a conversation allowing you to discuss any and all of your bothersome symptoms. The most common signs of TMD that we often see include:
- Jaw popping or clicking
- Teeth clenching or grinding
- Facial pain
- Severe toothaches
- Difficulty chewing
- Migraines or headaches
Health problems with similar symptoms may co-exist with TMJ disorders which is why it may be difficult to diagnose. These problems include chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disturbances, and fibromyalgia. Bruxism, or teeth clenching and grinding, is one of the most common symptoms of TMD that is a risk factor for muscle pain in the face.
If you wake up with jaw pain or suffer from frequent headaches, you may have bruxism. Please contact our office for a consultation, where we will help you address facial pain. During an examination, your dentist will be able to see the signs of bruxism.
TMD/TMJ Treatment in our Chicago, IL Dental Office
There is no single course of treatment for TMD. Depending on your symptoms and what we discover during your exam, we may recommend one or several treatment options. Treatment options may include orthodontics such as braces or splints to align and stabilize the jaw and custom mouthguards or night guards. We recommend that patients eat soft foods, use ice packs, and take pain medications if they have mild TMD.
If you have worn down, broken, or damaged teeth due to TMJ issues, we can offer treatments such as dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and tooth bonding to repair them. These treatments can also protect your teeth from further damage and improve their appearance. We can even help the most severe patient cases that have complex issues such as worn-down teeth or broken teeth. In these cases, we can successfully use dental implants to secure a dental bridge or denture when appropriate. Dr. Brand also offers therapeutic Botox to help alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms.
Using Botox to Alleviate TMJ Disorder Symptoms
Botox is a treatment that has been used for cosmetic purposes for many years. However, doctors have begun using Botox to treat a variety of medical conditions, including migraines and overactive bladder. Botox can also help alleviate TMD symptoms! When injected into the muscles around the jaw, Botox relaxes them and relieves the pressure on the joints to reduce TMJ pain and discomfort. Botox is a safe and effective treatment for TMD that can provide long-lasting relief.
There are some risks to using Botox. The most common side effects include temporary muscle weakness or difficulty chewing, but more serious complications can happen if the TMJ specialist does not properly administer the injections. Botox can spread beyond the targeted jaw muscles to restrict necessary movement in the face and throat leading to difficulty breathing or swallowing.
As with any medical procedure, it’s important to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before moving forward. It’s also essential to find a skilled and experienced practitioner who can ensure the proper administration of the injections. In many cases, Botox can provide significant relief for TMJ symptoms without major complications, but it’s important to proceed with caution. To learn more about our Botox services, see Botox.
How Long Does Botox Last For TMJ?
The length of time that Botox is effective for treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder varies from person to person. In general, the effects last for about three to six months before you will need a followup treatment. Patients may notice a decrease in pain and improvement in jaw function within a few days after injection, with maximum results usually reached around two weeks post-treatment.
It’s important to note that while Botox can be helpful in relieving TMJ symptoms, it is not a permanent solution. You should use it in conjunction with other methods, such as physical therapy or oral appliance therapy. Additionally, it’s always important to consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment for TMJ disorder.
TMJ Disorder FAQs
Is a TMJ disorder serious?
TMD is not considered a dental emergency. However, this disorder can cause debilitating pain and damage to your teeth if you ignore it. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are often associated with TMD. These conditions will wear the teeth down and lead to cracked or chipped teeth. Restoring those teeth can be painful and costly. Because of this, it is best to address your TMJ pain before it becomes a greater issue.
What is the link between TMJ disorders and stress?
Some of our patients require TMJ treatment because they have arthritis or experienced an injury to the face. However, a vast majority of our patients need it because of their stress level or their ability to handle stress. High levels of stress often result in teeth grinding or jaw clenching. These continual actions will lead to a TMD diagnosis.
How is TMD diagnosed?
Our dentists diagnose a TMJ disorder by examining the patients mouth and jaw, looking for signs of tenderness or pain. They will also look for signs of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Our dentists may also ask the patient to open and close their mouth to observe movement and check the range of motion. We may also use X-rays or MRI scans to check for misalignment, bone displacement or jaw dislocation.
As experienced TMJ dentists in Chicago, Dr. Stein or Dr. Brand can quickly diagnose TMD. It is important to relay all of your TMJ symptoms to them. We will also ask a series of questions to determine which TMJ treatment is best for you.
Is TMD responsible for my headaches?
We treat a lot of patients that grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. They wake up suffering from headaches and pain without knowing the cause. Frequent headaches are one of the most obvious signs of a TMJ disorder, along with jaw popping or clicking and facial pain.
Do you suffer from frequent migraines, jaw popping, or teeth clenching and grinding? Call Premier Dentistry at Millennium Park at 312-586-8596 for TMD diagnosis and TMJ treatments. You can also request an appointment online with Dr. Brand and Dr. Stein.