Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ is a condition that is sometimes described as “the great imposter” because it has so many symptoms and can be confused with other conditions.
People with TMJ might experience:
- Jaw pain
- Jaw sounds like popping, clicking, and grinding
- Irregular or limited jaw motion
- Locked jaw
- Ear fullness
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Chipped or worn teeth
- Neck pain
Few people experience all the symptoms listed above, but if you have more than one, you should suspect TMJ, especially if at least one of your symptoms affects your jaw and/or ear.
Diagnosing Your TMJ
We believe that listening to our patients is critical. That’s where we begin with our TMJ diagnosis. Too many people with the condition are dismissed by their doctors as either exaggerating or fabricating their symptoms. We let you tell us about your symptoms, and we believe you.
Then we will proceed to determine whether TMJ might be responsible for what you’re feeling. We will measure your jaw opening and your ability to move your jaw from side to side. In addition, we’ll feel all the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your head and neck, noting which movements and touches are painful.
Then we’ll determine what we need to do to diagnose your TMJ and eliminate other possible causes of your symptoms.
We will take images of your jaws and jaw joints to see if there are visible problems that might account for your symptoms. We will also take a digital scan of your upper and lower teeth. We send these to the lab so they can fabricate your oral appliances. We will take pictures of you to document asymmetry or posture issues as well.
Treating Your TMJ
Usually, the problem with the TMJ is that the jaw may be too close to the ear, placing pressure on the ear, which causes ear symptoms as well as jaw symptoms.
Depending on what we see in your exam, we might recommend a multifaceted treatment approach. Your treatment will be broken down into a few different appointments.
- The daytime appliance is inserted. Dr. Skowronski will custom set that patient’s bite to the appliance in a position that allows for the correct relationship between the upper and lower jaws consequently relaxing facial muscles and alleviating pain.
- The nighttime appliance is also inserted. The benefit of the patient wearing a nighttime appliance is that it allows the jaw to stay in the proper healing position while they sleep.
- Dr. Skowronski reviews all wear instructions with patients and advises that the daytime appliance be worn while eating. This is imperative in order to ultimately be pain-free.
- Patients will be seen in the office every 4-6 weeks following the insert of the appliances.
- Dr. Skowronski will check and adjust the patient’s bite in relation to the appliance. Having the correct bite relationship is imperative in order for the patient to be free of headaches and facial pain.
6-9 Months Post Insert
- It has been documented that TMJ treatment with the appliance generally takes about 6-9 months until the patient is asymptomatic and the ligaments and tendons are healed.
- The appliance is then removed from the patient, and orthodontic or crown/bridge phase II treatment will begin.
- Phase II treatment will duplicate the correct jaw position that the appliance has established and allows the patient to be pain and symptom-free with maximum function.
- It has been documented at the patient’s first 6-week post insert appointment that their symptomatology usually is reduced by 50% and overall, their feeling of wellness has greatly improved.
- By the third post insert appointment, it has been documented that most patients typically feel 85% better than prior to treatment.
Are You Looking for Relief from TMJ Pain?
If you are tired of living with headaches, jaw pain, irregular jaw function, and other TMJ symptoms, we can help. You can experience relief quickly and get back to enjoying your life. Please call (586) 977-8413 today for an appointment at Skowronski Family Dentistry.