You may have heard someone say “I have TMJ” at some point. Usually, what they are trying to say is that they are suffering from a TMJ disorder or TMD. Your temporomandibular joints, also known as your TMJ, are the complex system that make it possible to open and close your mouth. This system includes all the muscles, ligaments and jaw bone itself, and is located on either side of your skull. The TMJ moves the lower jaw- your mandible- forward, backward and side to side.
Each side of the TMJ has a sponge-y disc of cartilage between the ball and socket of the joint which supports the load while enabling the jaw to open wide and rotate or glide. Any problem that hinders this complicated system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones and interferes with its proper functioning can be called a TMJ disorder. Dentists like Dr. Brad Gorsky of midtown Manhattan, NY can diagnose and treat this problem to relieve the discomfort and stop the advance of dental issues that TMJ disorders can cause.
What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?
Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Alignment of jaw and teeth
- Teeth grinding due to stress
How is TMJ Diagnosed?
Dr. Gorsky or your area dentist must examine you and diagnose a TMD before treatment can begin. The examination should include the dentist checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion. Depending on the severity of the TMD, Dr.Gorsky or your area dentist may refer you out to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.
How is TMJ Treated?
For basic cases, there are a few different at-home remedies that may work. These are simple remedies to try before moving on to more involved treatment. This “less is more” approach to treating TMJ disorders advises you to try the following:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
- Applying heat packs to the pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate tension in the jaw, including meditation or biofeedback.
If your symptoms are more severe, the following treatments may be recommended by Dr. Gorsky:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
- Medications prescribed by your dentist; such as muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-
- Anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications
- A mouth guard or bite plate to reduce clenching or grinding of teeth.
In some cases, you may be diagnosed with an uneven bite that must be treated by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may even be recommended if necessary. Dr. Gorsky can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the determined cause.
If you are in the Manhattan/midtown New York area and think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, any other dental ailment or just need a cleaning or consultation, please call 212.235.1769 to schedule with Dr. Gorsky or schedule with our office online.