I will never go anywhere else for my dental work! As a medically complex patient, I have been refused by many dentists. He was originally consulted to help my TMJ pain (he’s the only one who has been successful with this). He was not afraid to tackle my routine dental care as well. He has an excellent bedside manner which goes unrivaled by anyone else I’ve ever seen and had a way of making sure my care was comfortable and as painless as possible, including managing my severe anxiety. He is extremely talented and truly passionate about his patients and has a wicked sense of humor. The only thing I’d change is I wish I had gotten to see him years ago before I was highly traumatized with previous whack jobs who destroyed my teeth. His entire office staff is incredible. They are so kind and bend over backward to help in any way possible.
– S Horine

Temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) Joint Dysfunction goes by a couple of names.

In layman’s terms, it’s also known as TMJ or TMJ syndrome. Doctors call it TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction which encompasses anything from sore jaw muscles to a damaged joint itself.

But what it is? The joint, the temporomandibular joint, is the joint on each side of the head that connects the jaw bone to the skull. This joint is essential for the daily functions of chewing, talking, yawning, or even making silly faces at your kiddos! When there’s an issue of misalignment at that joint, causing pain, soreness, or maybe severe headaches, then there’s often a diagnosis of TMJ.

According to WebMD, there are many contributing factors to TMJ, but there is no one main cause, except in the case of direct trauma. Some possible sources of the problem include things such as good ol’ genetics, teeth grinding, arthritis in the joint, or whiplash/trauma injuries! Clicking both WebMD and Mayo Clinic will give lists that will be helpful to learn more about the causes of TMJ.

TMJ Screening

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.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Headache pain, especially around your temples
  • Migraines

If there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.

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.

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 for TMJ depends on the type of dysfunction. There are several options including mouthpieces or bite splints (a meticulously adjusted mouthpiece), bite adjustment, medicines such as anti-inflammatories, steroids, or muscle relaxers, orthodontics, restorative dental treatment such as crowns and bridges, physical therapy, acupuncture/chiropractic, trigger point injections, arthrocentesis, among others. 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
  • Earaches
  • Headaches with or without ear pain and pressure behind the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw locking
  • Dull aching to sharp stabbing pain
  • Becoming overly sensitive to pain
  • Vertigo
  • Toothache
  • Tension headaches, especially on the temples. Your temporalis muscles are one of your main chewing muscles
  • erve-type pain, such as burning
  • Fever
  • 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.

Headaches are not part of everyday life. Well, they shouldn’t be.

Would it surprise you if we said that headaches combined with oral health could be the issue? That’s right! While there are actually three different types of headaches, there are many factors as to what might cause head pain. However, a dental expert might be your best bet to solve your headache problems and restore normal, pain-free living.

How can my oral health relate to my headaches?

According to Humana, cavities and infections can trigger headaches, but often, cranial pain associated with dental issues is tension headaches. Tension headaches are just what they sound like, tight muscles in the head, neck, or scalp triggers pain. So, tension, or tight muscles, surrounding your jaw can cause you to grind your teeth. Tooth grinding (bruxism) often occurs while sleeping or is sometimes related to stress. However, many people clench or grind their teeth throughout the day also. Regardless, it overworks the jaw muscles, and this is a frequent cause of the jaw disorder known as Temporomandibular joint Dysfunction (TMD). Another contributing factor to joint pain and headaches is genetics. The shape of your jaw and the type of bite that you inherit from your parents can be a big contributor to this dysfunction. So, some potential answers to these problems are oral splints (mouthpiece), orthodontics, restoration of missing teeth, and many others.

What now?

Solutions may come in many forms, but to get started, visiting a TMJ specialist such as Dr. James Lalonde jumps to the top of the list because the definitive diagnosis has to precede the treatment. Dr. Lalonde specializes in all things TMJ and has over 30 years of experience in this area. He’s also done extensive training at several TMD specialty centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Dawson Academy. He’ll start with an extremely thorough and detailed TMJ exam, and from there determine the route to take.

The view of life doesn’t have to be through the fog of a headache.

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