TMJ is the term widely used when referring to Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). This complex group of disorders is characterized by pain and limited mobility in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and surrounding tissue. It is estimated that 35 million adults suffer from TMJ Disorders. However, few medical professionals are experienced in diagnosing and treating these complicated conditions.
Dr. Alexander has focused much of his post-graduate training on diagnosing and treating TMJ Disorders. Using the latest techniques combined with state-of-the-art technology, Dr. Alexander can identify, diagnose, and treat the root cause of TMJ disorders as part of our general dentistry offerings. He can provide relief to patients suffering from persistent and painful symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms of TMJ
There are many causes for TMJ Disorders. Most often, it is trauma to the face or head. Patients with TMJ Disorders often exhibit signs and symptoms very different from one another, making diagnosing TMJ Disorders challenging. Frequent signs or symptoms include:
- Noises in the TMJ, popping, clicking, or grating
- Difficulty opening or “locked” jaw
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Tired sensation after exercising the TMJ, as in eating, chewing, or speaking
Diagnosing and TMJ Treatment in Jacksonville
In dentistry, there is no one size fits all solution for any problem or condition. This couldn’t be more true for TMJ Disorders. Each problem is unique to the individual patient, and treatment planning depends entirely on the diagnosis. Dr. Alexander has worked with many TMJ patients, giving him a library of cases to reference and compare when creating a TMJ treatment plan.
TMJ Treatment Methods
When treating patients with TMJ Disorders, Dr. Alexander takes a conservative approach, avoiding major procedures and surgery whenever possible. Therapies for TMJ may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Mouthguards or splints
- Changes to the occlusion (bite) to correct problems
- Orthodontics like Invisalign to correct misalignment
TMJ Headache Therapy
Do you frequently wake up with a headache in the morning?
There is a strong connection between specific types of headaches and TMJ disorders. Dr. Donald Alexander is among a handful of dentists in Jacksonville, FL with the training and experience to treat TMJ disorders and the associated symptoms. A TMJ disorder can cause certain headaches.
Dr. Alexander will perform a comprehensive evaluation with a bite analysis to diagnose your condition. He will examine the relationship between your jaw joints, teeth, and muscles in your mouth to determine if the system is in harmony.
Headaches that are linked to TMJ disorders are often the result of malocclusion or an unbalanced bite. If the teeth don’t make proper contact, they can create stress points which can cause facial tension and lead to headaches or facial pain.
Another cause of TMJ headaches is teeth grinding or teeth clenching. This often occurs during sleep, so you may not know you have an issue. The common signs of teeth grinding are morning headaches or facial pain, worn teeth, or cuts on the inside of your cheek or tongue.
Treatment for TMJ headaches is unique to the individual, and several treatments may be offered until the best solution is reached. Dr. Alexander strives to provide the most conservative treatments with the best results. Treatment for TMJ headaches can range from a simple nightguard to stop teeth grinding to advanced bite correction procedures that involve reshaping the teeth to bring the bite into harmony.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
TMJ treatment can be detrimental to your overall oral health. Learn more about the condition and treatment methods by reading the answers to these frequently asked questions.
How long does it take to correct TMJ?
TMJ can clear up in as little as three weeks with proper treatment. However, some TMJ conditions can last months or years, particularly those due to arthritis or teeth grinding. It’s all dependent on the severity of the underlying condition. We can provide treatment that at least minimizes the impacts of TMJ symptoms.
Is TMJ a medical or dental problem?
TMJ can actually be both. Arthritis can cause TMJ, and that’s more of a medical issue. But teeth grinding is also a common cause on the dental side of things. Ideally, the two parties communicate and take on the treatment approach together.
Can TMJ make my ears feel clogged?
You may think a blocked ear is due to an ear infection or allergies, but it can also be TMJ. It can also cause ear ringing because your jaw joint is right by your ear. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, especially if you’re also experiencing ones like jaw pain or frequent headaches, schedule a consultation to talk about TMJ treatment.
Does my insurance cover TMJ treatment?
TMJ treatment usually doesn’t qualify for medical insurance but is usually covered by dental insurance as a dental issue. We can submit claims to your insurance company to ensure you get the best treatment coverage.
What are the treatment options for TMJ?
There are multiple different paths we can go down to treat TMJ. Each patient is different, and we create a personalized treatment plan for each specific case. Options include muscle relaxers, oral appliance therapy, massages, exercises, and more. Treatment depends on the underlying causes of your TMJ.
Do I need TMJ treatment?
There are many different signs that you need TMJ treatment. These include jaw pain, frequent headaches, especially upon waking, noticing your teeth are worn down in a certain area, clogged ears or tinnitus, and others. It’s always better to be cautious and get looked at instead of waiting to see if things change.
Schedule a Dental Exam & Consultation Today
Get relief from frequent headaches and TMJ in our Jacksonville dental office. A simple bite analysis and consultation can reveal whether or not your headaches are caused by TMJ dysfunction. You can experience permanent relief in just a few visits. Schedule a consultation with Jacksonville dentist Dr. Alexander. Call 904-901-4302 or request an appointment online.