Monthly Archives: March 2014

What Causes TMJ Pain?

TMJdentistIf you’ve heard anything about a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you likely know it involves your jaw and it involves a lot of pain. It’s actually a bit more complex than that, as there are a wide variety of common TMJ problems. And while the disorder can develop naturally over time, did you know the vast majority of TMJ disorders are caused by trauma?

There are two basic forms of trauma that contribute to TMJ disorders: minor trauma that happens repeatedly over time and major trauma that is usually the result of an accident or injury. If you’re aware of these types of trauma that can cause TMJ, you can seek treatment earlier or even avoid it altogether.

Minor Trauma Causes of TMJ

TMJ disorders can develop by themselves due to certain habits or natural degeneration. Here are some examples of minor trauma that may contribute to TMJ disorders:
• Habitually clenching or grinding your teeth
• Participating in contact sports such as football, basketball or hockey
• Developing a form of arthritis
• Tension due to stress
Many of these forms of minor trauma involve a lot of tightening and clenching of the muscles, which leads to fatigue and overworking them. All increase the possibility of TMJ disc erosion or dislocation, which leads to a TMJ disorder.

Major Trauma Causes of TMJ

Major trauma is the more unexpected cause of TMJ disorders and isn’t as preventable. But recognizing it can help you seek treatment as early as possible. Here are some examples of major trauma that may contribute to TMJ disorders:
• Sports injuries, such as a tackle to the head in football or an elbow to the face in basketball
• Automobile accidents, specifically ones that involve an impact to the head
• Some roller coasters or other activities with sudden changes in speed that cause whiplash
• Anything else involving a strong blow to the head
There is likely more than one factor involved in developing a TMJ disorder, so your risk may be higher if you’ve experienced multiple forms of minor or major trauma.

If you’d like suggestions on how to avoid TMJ disorder causes – or if you think you might have already developed it and would like treatment – schedule a consultation with Lebowitz Dental today.

Avoid Surgery for TMJ Pain

If you have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you may be hesitant to address it, despite chronic pain and jaw problems. Surgery is not the only option thanks to advances in TMJ dentistry. You can actually effectively treat TMJ disorders without surgery by simply visiting Lebowitz Dental.

In general, you can avoid some symptoms of TMJ disorders by doing things like taking medication, reducing stress, eating soft foods and applying hot and cold packs. But to permanently treat TMJ, you’ll likely need to do more.

Here are some of the non-invasive ways Lebowitz Dental can treat your TMJ disorder:
• Corrective dentistry – TMJ disorders may be often caused by an improper bite, so ensuring yours is normal helps immensely. Corrective dentistry that effectively treats TMJ disorders includes crowns, bridges, braces and even reshaping the teeth to remove interferences that affect the bite. There are various ways to correct your bite and ultimately help correct your TMJ disorder.
• Bite guards – Usually worn at night, these devices fit over your lower and upper teeth to prevent them from coming together. This is because many people with TMJ disorders tend to clench or grind their teeth, which causes problems. Bite guards also help align your bite. The best thing about visiting a dentist for your bite guard is that they can customize one to fit your mouth’s specific needs.
• Oral splints – Similar to bite guards, oral splints are worn all the time. They also align your upper and lower jaw while reducing muscle fatigue and improving your joint health and mouth posture. Your dentist can create a customized oral splint as well, making this a low-risk, reversible option that doesn’t require surgery.
•Physical therapy/counseling – If your dentist diagnoses you with a TMJ disorder, they may advise physical therapy or counseling in addition to an oral device or corrective dentistry. This reduces stress and teaches you exercises and habits that help reduce pain and other symptoms.

Surgery unfortunately is the only option for a select few, but it’s very rare. Most can receive treatment for TMJ disorders with the options listed above.

Schedule a consultation with Lebowitz Dental and enjoy eating, talking and chewing again!