Do you have frequent headaches or migraines, usually in the morning?
Do you experience limited mobility in the jaw or hear a popping or clicking noise when you open or close your jaw?
These signs are often misdiagnosed by patients and physicians, when they may, in fact, be the result of a treatable dental problem or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Few dentists and physicians are trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders which consider how your bite fits together and how that relationship contributes to problems like headaches, earaches and tooth wear.
What is TMJ?
TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is a joint connecting the upper and lower jaw, responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ is also a general term given to a condition in which the jaw joints or teeth do not fit together properly.
Massachusetts dentist, Dr. Robert Gauthier of Apex Dental in Northborough, has focused a considerable amount of his post-graduate training to the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders, along with the complex dental problems that occur as a result of prolonged TMJ dysfunction. He will perform a comprehensive evaluation of all aspects of your occlusal system and an analysis of your bite to determine if you suffer from a TMJ disorder.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder
There is no single cause of TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:
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 resulting in bite problems)
Common TMJ Symptoms
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary significantly among patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
Shoulder, neck, facial pain
Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
"You guys do a great job getting people in on time, providing honest service and making people feel comfortable during a period of time that is not always comfortable for your patients. Your pricing is extremely fair as well for…Christopher P.
"This is the best dental office experience I have ever had. Everyone was so nice from the receptionist on the phone to the dental assistants to the dentists themselves. I felt that my health was the primary concern and the…Elaine L.
"This was my first appointment and I was very pleased with my entire visit. The staff are pleasant and cordial. Facility is clean and well equipped with what appears to be the latest technologies available. The exam was quite thorough…Lydia T.
"The whole staff was wonderful. They took me right on time, did the cleaning and x-rays very professionally, Dr. Gauthier checked everything personally, and left feeling I was well cared for by a competent group of caring and professional "friends.""John C.
"I left with complete confidence that Dr. Gauthier had performed a thorough assessment of my dental needs and had recommended the best and most cost-effective solutions."Walter B.
"The on site production of the cap I had installed was amazing. 1 appointment, about 2 hours and it was done. The process was fast, and accurate, resulting in a perfect fit."Dean T.
TMJ Therapy What to Expect
TMJ treatment depends entirely on the patient and the individual symptoms they are experiencing. Dr. Gauthier takes a comprehensive approach to TMJ treatment, which often includes oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a removable device, usually 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, mouth guard or night guard.
In addition, Dr. Gauthier provides a range of general dentistry and restorative dental services to repair damaged teeth as a result of TMJ dysfunction. Teeth may be corrected with dental bonding, porcelain veneers, dental crowns, or other types of dental restorations. Many procedures can be completed in a single visit using Apex Dental’s advanced CEREC technology.
Schedule a Consultation for TMJ Therapy
Consider the millions of dollars spent each year on over the counter pain relievers, doctors visits and time missed from work because of undiagnosed TMJ dysfunction. Contact Massachusetts dentist Dr. Robert Gauthier 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.
Patients who complain about daily headaches, frequently occurring in the morning, often grind their teeth at night while asleep. This condition is known as bruxism, and left untreated may cause TMJ. If you experience headaches, facial pain, or wearing of teeth, you may have TMJ caused by bruxism.
No. You may not need oral surgery if your TMJ symptoms are not severe and paralyzing. Your dentist can alleviate TMJ symptoms with orthodontics and oral appliances that have been proven to help patients with this disorder.
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.