If you are experiencing jaw soreness, headaches, swelling, popping or clicking when you open or close your mouth, or difficulty chewing, you may need treatment for TMJ. Dr. Lalonde understands the challenges of dealing with TMJ and offers a variety of solutions.
Formerly known as TMJ (the actual name of the joint itself), what we now call temporomandibular disorders (TMD), can be incredibly painful and can limit your daily activities. The temporomandibular joint is the area where your jaw rotates against your skull. Facial pain in this area or in any area around your facial muscles or skull is referred to as TMD and can come with a wide array of symptoms or signs.
What are the Common Symptoms of TMD
People who suffer from TMD often have pain when they move their jaw and can also have migraine headaches, tension headaches, neck aches, earaches, and facial pain. Sometimes clicking, popping, and grinding noises can occur when eating and/or talking. Other people experience restricted mobility when they try to open and close their mouths.
How is TMD diagnosed?
Because of the wide array of symptoms it produces, TMD may be very hard to diagnose. It is extremely important to find a very well trained and experienced dentist. An examination for this condition will consist of a very thorough head and neck exam including palpation of the muscles around the face and neck, a detailed medical history, X-rays, and in some cases cat scans or an MRI. Frequently accurate models and records of your bite are mounted on a jaw simulator (or articulator) to evaluate your jaw relationships. If you suspect that you are suffering from TMD, we will take note of your symptoms and start with a physical examination and history of your pain profile.
How is TMD treated?
Because TMD is considered multifactorial there may be several treatment options and some lifestyle changes suggested to aid in your recovery. Frequent lifestyle change suggestions are decreasing caffeine intake, stopping gum chewing or nail-biting, or eating a soft diet for a period of time. Sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea are often a direct contributor to TMD, as they often cause clenching or grinding. Therefore, we frequently request a sleep study to evaluate that possibility. Bio-feedback, learning how to relax in general, and learning how to break a subconscious clenching or grinding while awake are very helpful. Treatment options often include a bite splint ( a meticulously adjusted mouthpiece) and a bite adjustment and may also include muscle relaxers, steroids, dental restoration of a broken-down mouth, physical therapy, chiropractic, trigger point injections, arthrocentesis, and acupuncture. Joint surgery is only recommended after all other modalities have been explored.
Dr. Lalonde has been diagnosing and treating complex TMD issues for over 38 years and has personally trained with several nationally recognized experts in the field such as Dr. Parker Mahan, Dr. John Regenos, Dr. Peter Dawson, Dr. Hudson Heidorf, Dr. William McHorris, and Dr. James Metz to name a few.
If you are suffering from pain that you believe is related to TMD, please give our office a call. Together we can assess pain management and treatment options to help you greatly improve your quality of life.
What Causes Pain in the Face and Jaw?
Yikes! Pain the face and jaw is no joke, but what causes it? If you have severe pain in the jaw or face, it’s important that you contact your dentist quickly. As you’ll discover in the text, there are many factors that can cause jaw or face pain, and some of them need to be taken care of immediately!
Heath Connections to Facial Pain
First off, there are a few common causes in relation to dental care: trauma to the jaw; infection in teeth, gums, or bone; TMJ Disorder; or teeth grinding. However, there are some non-dental causes as well! According to Harvard Health Publishing, it could also be an irritated nerve, a side effect of diabetes, or “coronary artery disease, although there would typically be other symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure and shortness of breath with physical exertion or emotional stress.”
Facial Pain Symptoms to Communicate About!
According to Medical News Today, jaw pain symptoms vary from case to case, but here are a few symptoms to consider telling your dentist about:
- Joint and muscle tenderness
- Facial pain that worsens when the jaw is used
- Limited range of motion
- Clicking or popping when the jaw opens
- Ringing in the ears
- Headaches with or without ear pain and pressure behind the eyes
- Jaw locking
- Dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
- Becoming overly sensitive to pain
- Tension headaches, especially on the temples. Your temporalis muscles are one of your main chewing muscles
- erve-type pain, such as burning
- Facial swelling
What we at Lafayette Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry can do for You
Dr. Lalonde specializes in TMJ disorder and can help you identify if that’s the cause of your face and jaw pain. Treatment for TMJ depends on the type of dysfunction. There are several options including mouthpieces or splints, medicines such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers, orthodontics, restorative dental treatment such as crowns and bridges, physical therapy, acupuncture, among others. Fortunately, our very own, Dr. Lalonde has over 35 years of experience treating TMJ disorders and has studied with several world-recognized experts at Cleveland Clinic, University of Florida, Ohio State University, and the Dawson Center, among others. He’d be happy to talk to you about your individual needs and walk with you every step of the way to the resolution of your problems. Feel free to find more information about his credentials, recommendations, and passion to help people! We hope to see you soon.