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TMD and TMJ Treatments at Aligned Healing!

A practice dedicated to the developing science of airway health and the factors which lead to sleep problems in adult and child patients.

TMJ disorders (TMD) are conditions that affect your jaw joints and facial muscles. These disorders can cause jaw pain, trouble chewing or speaking, and a clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves.

TMD can get worse if not treated early, causing pain, problems in daily life, and possibly more severe health issues. If you are experiencing any TMJ symptoms or TMD, call our highly experienced and caring TMJ dentist, Dr. Safavi, NOW at (303) 226-6265 and start protecting your health.

Schedule your completely FREE, no obligation, TMJ and TMD Consultation NOW and start your journey toward a healthy overall life!

We offer easy, affordable financing, and we will work with your dental insurance company to provide you with the maximum reimbursement of your treatment cost.

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) refers to the hinges connecting your jawbone to your skull. These complex joints on either side of your head enable talking, chewing, and yawning. They function as sliding hinges, combining a hinge action with sliding motions.

When you are healthy, these joints, muscles, and ligaments work seamlessly, providing comfort and flexibility in jaw movement. Genetics, arthritis, or injury to the jaw joint can cause jaw problems such as pain and limited movement.

What Is TMD?

TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorders, affect your TMJ and the muscles controlling jaw movement. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction TMJ disorder causes jaw, face, neck, and shoulder discomfort. Symptoms include chronic facial pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or grating sounds when the mouth opens.

TMD can result from factors like jaw injury, stress-related teeth grinding, arthritis in the TMJ, or an improper bite. Many people may experience TMD, with cases ranging from mild to severe. If you have TMD symptoms, seek dental or medical advice from our skilled dentists at (303) 226-6265 for diagnosis and treatment.

TMD/TMJ Symptoms

The manifestations of TMJ/TMD can vary widely, and they might not be the same for everyone. If you suspect that you have TMJ/TMD, you should familiarize yourself with the common signs and symptoms, which include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw: This is often the first sign of TMD. The discomfort may be persistent or intermittent, affecting one or both sides of the face. This might also be worse while chewing, speaking, or opening the mouth wide.
  • Trouble opening your mouth: You may feel pain or discomfort while eating or chewing, making it hard to eat some foods.
  • Aching facial pain: This persistent pain in your face can also extend to the neck and shoulders.
  • Jaw joint locking: In some cases, the jaw can get stuck or locked, making it hard to open or close your mouth.
  • Jaw clicking, popping, or grating: You might observe these sounds or sensations when you open or close your mouth or chew.
  • Changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together: This could mean a change in your bite, which might indicate TMJ disorder progression.
  • Swelling on the side of your face: This could be because of inflammation in the TMJ or surrounding muscles.
  • Ear pain or tinnitus: Even though there isn’t a problem with the ear, TMD can often cause ear pain or ear ringing (tinnitus).

If you recognize any of these symptoms, seek medical attention at our dental clinic immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from worsening and causing further complications.

Causes of TMJ/TMD

Finding the exact cause of TMD can be challenging. This occurs because multiple factors frequently interact with each other to trigger it. Here are some possible causes and risk factors associated with TMJ/TMD:

  • Jaw Trauma or Injuries: An injury or trauma to the jaw or muscles of your head and neck. A heavy blow or whiplash – can result in TMD.
  • Clenching or Grinding the Teeth: These habits, which you might not even realize you’re doing, can lead to TMD as they put a lot of pressure on the TMJ and can also wear down the teeth.
  • Arthritis: This includes osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which can damage the joint’s cartilage, leading to temporomandibular joint disorders.
  • Movement of the Soft Cushion or Disk: The movement or erosion of the soft cushion or disk within the joint can cause misalignment, leading to TMD.
  • Poor Posture: This can strain your face and neck muscles, leading to TMD.
  • Stress: High levels of stress can lead to behaviors like clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth, which can exacerbate TMD.
  • Traditional Metal Braces: These can change your bite and put pressure on the TMJ.

If you have any of these risk factors, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop TMD, but it might increase your chances. Awareness of these factors can help you take preventative measures and be vigilant about early signs of the disorder.

TMJ & TMD Treatment

Treatment for TMJ/TMD can range from simple self-care practices and traditional treatments to complex surgical procedures. Below are some of the common treatments:

  • Self-Care Practices: These include eating soft foods, applying ice or moist heat, avoiding extreme jaw movements, practicing good posture, and doing gentle jaw stretching and relaxation techniques.
  • Pain Relievers and Anti-Inflammatories: For mild to moderate TMJ pain, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs or analgesics for relief.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants: These medications help with pain relief, bruxism control, and sleep aid.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Our skilled dentists may prescribe these medicines to help relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders.
  • Therapies: Nonpharmacologic therapies for TMD include oral orthotics or mouth guards (occlusal appliances), physical therapy, and counseling.
  • Surgical or Other Procedures: If basic treatments are ineffective, our highly experienced dentist might suggest different procedures to help with your symptoms. These procedures could include arthrocentesis, injections, TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, or open-joint surgery. Each of these procedures aims to improve your symptoms and provide relief. Our experienced dentist will talk to you about your options and suggest the best plan based on your situation.

Diagnosis Process of Your TMJ/TMD

To diagnose TMJ/TMD, our highly experienced dentist will review your medical history and symptoms during your FREE consultation. We will discuss any jaw injuries you have had, including how often they occur, how long they last, and what causes your symptoms.

After the initial consultation, we conduct a thorough physical examination. The dentist will check your jaw joints for any signs of pain or tenderness during the examination.

Our highly experienced dentist will also listen for any clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw. Additionally, we will examine how well your jaw functions and moves.

Below are some of the processes we follow to diagnose TMJ/TMD :

Comprehensive Head and Neck Exam: This examination evaluates the alignment, movement, and health of your jaw, temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and surrounding structures. By assessing for any irregularities or signs of dysfunction, we can identify potential TMJ/TMD issues early on. This information helps us develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve discomfort and promote optimal dental health. 

Dental X-rays: These can show if there are problems with your teeth that might contribute to the condition.

CT scans: Also called CAT scans, these provide detailed images of bones and joints. They can also identify problems with the joint’s disk or surrounding bones.

Health History Questionnaire: The health history questionnaire allows us to gather comprehensive information about your health, previous treatment history, and more. This important information ensures patient safety as we develop a personalized treatment. 

MRI: An MRI can reveal problems with the joint’s disks or soft tissues.

TMJ Arthroscopy: Doctors sometimes insert a small tube into a joint with a camera to see inside and aid in diagnosis.

The diagnosis of TMJ/TMD often doesn’t rely on a single test. Instead, our highly experienced dentist will use a combination of your medical history, physical examination, and any necessary tests to reach an accurate diagnosis. This comprehensive approach tailors the treatment plan to your needs and condition.

Treatment Options for TMJ/TMD

TMJ/TMD treatment uses both non-surgical and surgical methods to reduce pain and improve jaw function. Our skilled dentist, Dr. Safavi, may recommend various treatments depending on the severity and duration of your symptoms.

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