Are your headaches or migraines mostly in the morning? Do you have limited mobility in the jaw or hear a popping or clicking noise when you open or close your jaw? Dr. Gauthier can help restore your teeth and well-being with TMJ therapy.
Patients and physicians often misdiagnose the signs when they may, in fact, be the result of a treatable dental problem or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Few dentists and physicians have the right training and experience to detect TMJ disorders. Dr. Robert Gauthier provides TMD treatment to patients in Northborough near you. He evaluates your bite and how bite issues may add to problems like headaches, earaches, and tooth wear.
What is TMJ?
TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is a joint linking the upper and lower jaw and is in charge of the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ is also a broad term that describes a state in which the jaw joints or teeth do not connect properly. Dr. Gauthier focused a vast amount of his post-graduate training on the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders, along with the complex dental problems that result from prolonged TMJ dysfunction. He will perform a full exam of all aspects of your occlusal system and an analysis of your bite to see if you suffer from a TMJ disorder.
Common Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
There is no single cause of TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or a mix of factors may be to blame, such as:
- Stress, anxiety, and other environmental factors (leading cause)
- Trauma to the head, neck, or face
- Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly, and it results in bite problems)
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly among patients. TMD symptoms often mask themselves or are like those of other medical conditions. This makes getting an accurate diagnosis very hard. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing the jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches
Treating TMJ Disorders
TMJ treatment depends entirely on the patient and the individual symptoms they are experiencing. Dr. Gauthier takes a comprehensive approach to TMJ treatment and offers these solutions to his patients:
- Oral Appliances: An oral appliance is a removable device, mostly worn at night, to keep the teeth and jaw in proper position and prevent teeth grinding and teeth clenching. An oral appliance may be a dental splint, mouthguard, or night guard.
- Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry: Cosmetic and restorative dental treatments can repair damaged teeth due to TMJ issues. Your dentist can repair worn teeth with dental bonding, porcelain veneers, dental crowns, or other types of dental restorations. We can complete many procedures in a single visit using same-day CEREC technology.
- Botox: Some dentists use Botox for cosmetic treatments, although we can also use it to soothe TMD symptoms. Dr. Gauthier has certification from the American Academy for Facial Esthetics (AAFE) in order to treat TMJ patients with Botox safely. Dr. Gauthier targets tense muscles of the face and jaw. He injects Botox into these muscles to alleviate facial and jaw pain. Botox treatment also helps patients with frequent TMJ headaches and migraines.
TMJ Therapy FAQs
Want to know more about TMJ disorders?
Why do I wake up with headaches every morning?
Patients who complain about daily headaches, frequently occurring in the morning, often grind their teeth at night while asleep. Bruxism or unaddressed teeth grinding may cause TMD symptoms. If you experience headaches, facial pain, or wearing of teeth, you may have TMJ caused by bruxism.
Do I need oral surgery to get rid of my TMJ disorder?
No, you may not need oral surgery if your TMD symptoms are not severe and paralyzing. Your dentist can alleviate TMD symptoms with orthodontics and oral appliances such as a night guard, oral splints, and Invisalign.
Can sleeping on your side cause TMJ?
Sleeping on your side can exacerbate your TMJ issues but is not the sole cause of the disorder. Sleeping on your stomach can also worsen your TMJ issues. The best sleeping position for someone with a TMJ disorder is sleeping face up, on your back.
Schedule a Consultation for TMJ Therapy
Consider the millions of dollars spent each year on over-the-counter pain relievers, doctor visits, and time missed from work because of undiagnosed TMJ dysfunction. Contact our Massachusetts dentist near you at Apex Dental in Northborough for a consultation and to learn more about TMJ treatment.
We warmly welcome new patients and gladly see out-of-town patients. If you need to schedule a pre-consultation to discuss your specific issue, please contact our office at (508) 506-1691 or schedule an appointment online.