Symptoms of TMJ

One reason why TMJ can be so hard to identify and treat is that it has so many symptoms. Symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Migraines and other severe headaches
  • Neck aches
  • Facial pain
  • Congestion, ringing or stuffiness of the ears
  • Numbness in your fingers or arms
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound in the jaw joints
  • Excess wear, chipping, or cracking of teeth or restorations
  • Unexplained loose teeth
  • Recurring jaw pain or soreness
  • Unexplained tooth pain that affects many teeth and may move around

What Is a Neuromuscular Dentist?

A neuromuscular dentist is a dentist trained in the relationship of the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues with the bones and teeth in your mouth and jaw. Based on more than 30 years of clinical experience and research, neuromuscular dentistry has developed scientific, reliable, and predictable treatments for TMJ. This means that we can give you long-term relief from your symptoms, including head and neck pain.

We can reduce or alleviate your TMJ pain by determining your jaw’s ideal rest position. By correcting a misaligned bite, we can reduce wear or damage to teeth.

How TMJ Treatment Works

We begin treatment with TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), a kind of electrical massage. TENS relaxes the muscles of the head and neck, and stimulates the release of endorphins, natural pain killers.

Once we have relaxed your muscles, we can determine your jaw’s ideal rest position. Computerized jaw tracking is used to identify any irregularities in your jaw’s movement. EMG (Electromyography) is used to measure the electrical activity in the muscles, so we know when your muscles are at maximum rest. ESG (Electrosonography) is used to evaluate joint noises so we know whether there are any destructive or degenerative processes at work in your TMJ.

patient scan of TMJ bite
patient scan of TMJ bite

These sophisticated instruments have years of successful use in many different medical specialties. In neuromuscular dentistry, we use them to evaluate jaw dysfunction, which can contribute to symptoms in your entire body, although the most common symptom is headaches. We combine these measurements with specialized x-rays to determine the best treatment for your TMJ. Sometimes, regular TENS massage and lifestyle changes are adequate treatments. Other times, an orthopedic mouthpiece may be recommended. Sometimes dental restorations may be used in a full mouth reconstruction to improve jaw function. We can then use another advanced technology, Tekscan, to measure the force of your bite at every point. This confirms that your new bite is balanced and healthy, with no tooth subjected to more force than it can handle.

Rarely, surgery may be required to treat TMJ.

Patient smile before and after TMJ treatment

TMJ is a chronic condition that may take years to develop and likely worsens with age. However, our scientific diagnosis and treatments may allow us to help you get relief, even if other doctors have not been able to help.

If you still have questions about TMJ Disorder, please call us, or to schedule your TMJ evaluation at our Savannah, Georgia office, please contact Beyond Exceptional Dentistry today. Call (912) 234-8282 to learn more.