Questions to Consider When Choosing a TMJ Dentist
Are you or is someone you know suffering from TMJ and wanting to find a dentist who can help? Come to Koala Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders. For more information, call us or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX and Wausau WI.
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The term TMJ dentist is used to describe any dentist who specializes in treating problems relating to the jaw, including problems with the joint between the jaw and the skull (the temporomandibular joint) and problems with the muscles that control the jaw. The most common type of problem treated by a TMJ dentist is jaw pain, but TMJ dentists often provide other services as well, such as treatments for TMJ disorders, which are conditions that cause pain or dysfunction in the jaw.
Due to its impact on health and quality of life, treating TMJ disorder is important. Reasons to seek help for TMD include:
– Relieve Discomfort — Pain is a common symptom of TMJ disorder, but it does not only affect the jaw; it can also result in neck pain, upper back pain, jaw stiffness and chronic headaches. Jaw pain inhibits normal jaw functions, making activities like eating and talking uncomfortable; getting treatment relieves pain and restores normal functionality.
– Minimize Risk of Dental Damage — While the two conditions can occur on their own, bruxism and TMJ disorder are usually related. Teeth grinding can cause TMJ dysfunction and vice versa. Chronic bruxism can cause enamel deterioration and teeth damage, therefore treating TMJ disorder may resolve the grinding habit and prevent further damage to the teeth.
– Protect Ear Health — Serious cases of TMJ disorder can cause tinnitus or a constant high-pitched ringing in the ears. The ringing can disturb hearing and sleeping. While scientists are continuing to research the connection between the two conditions, treating TMJ disorder almost always resolves tinnitus as well.
– Improve Overall Health — TMJ disorder has been associated with many systemic health disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia and dizziness. However, it is uncertain what exactly is the link between these conditions. Treating TMJ disorder can be necessary for resolving those underlying health conditions and restoring general wellbeing.
TMJ disorder refers to any type of dysfunction of the jaw joint; this includes a wide range of conditions, all connected to the temporomandibular joint. To diagnose TMJ disorder, a dentist may:
– Perform a Physical Evaluation — The first step in diagnosing TMJ disorder is a physical examination. The dentist will use this time to listen to and feel the patient’s jaw when they open and close their mouth; observe the range of motion in their jaw; and press on areas around the jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort.
– Order Diagnostic Tests — If the dentist suspects a problem, they may order dental x-rays to examine the teeth and jaw. They may also request a CT scan; this is used to provide more detailed images of the bones in the temporomandibular joint. To reveal problems with the joint’s disk or surrounding soft tissue, an MRI may be ordered.
The jaw is a complex joint; in order to heal, professional treatment is almost always required in moderate to severe cases. When addressed early, treatment for TMJ disorder typically involves noninvasive therapies and nonsurgical procedures. However, if care is delayed, it could necessitate more interventional treatment methods that are more costly and require a longer recovery time.
No, pain medication will not cure TMJ disorder; it will only temporarily mask painful symptoms. If you need a qualified and trusted TMJ dentist, come to Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders to meet with our TMJ team! Call us today to book an appointment with our TMJ dentist, or visit one of our locations: We serve patients from all across the United States and look forward to serving you!