Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD)


Temporomandibular joint disorder (frequently abbreviated as TMJ or TMD) is a common and often misdiagnosed condition that emanates from the connective area between your jaw and skull and causes migraine-like headaches and other painful symptoms.

Because many TMJ/TMD symptoms correspond with other health conditions including migraines, sinus ailments, arthritis and periodontal disease, temporomandibular joint disorder is typically missed by physicians and dentists who lack specialized training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry. Using advanced technology, Pittsburgh neuromuscular dentists Dr. Joe and Dr. Charles Frye can diagnose the source of your TMJ/TMD and design a custom treatment to relieve your discomfort.

The Root of TMJ/TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder gets its name from the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. Around this joint is a complex network of muscles, tendons, bones and nerves.

One of these nerves is the trigeminal nerve, which is instrumental in your ability to bite, chew, swallow and feel sensation in your face. A bite condition or misaligned jaw can overstress your trigeminal nerve and other sensitive components in this connective region, resulting in chronic headaches and other symptoms including:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Difficulty biting, chewing and swallowing
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Jaw sticking or locking
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers
  • Pain in the back, face, neck and shoulders
  • Inability to widely open your mouth
  • Inability to find a comfortable, consistent resting position for your mouth

TMJ/TMD Diagnosis

The Pittsburgh neuromuscular dentists at Dentonics use advanced technology to determine your proper bite alignment and diagnose the source of your TMJ/TMD-related discomfort.

Accurate assessment of TMJ/TMD includes measuring multiple aspects of your teeth and jaw, locating your jaw’s optimal resting position, and assessing your jaw’s movement with computerized tracking and sonography. These details will form the foundation for your customized TMJ/TMD treatment plan.

TMJ/TMD Treatment Options

Some instances of TMJ/TMD may be corrected by stopping poor oral health habits such as teeth grinding, pen biting or ice chewing. In other cases, the use of transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS) may be an ideal solution. TENS employs mild electrical stimulation to relax your jaw muscles and allow your jaw to settle into a natural and comfortable resting position.

For TMJ/TMD patients who require bite repositioning, an oral appliance may be necessary. If not treated, TMJ/TMD can cause inflammation, swelling and progressive discomfort; TMJ/TMD may also contribute to further dental problems including premature tooth wear and gum disease.

If you live in the Pittsburgh, or Allison Park, Pennsylvania, areas and would like to learn more about TMJ/TMD diagnosis and treatment, please contact Dentonics to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Joe or Dr. Charles Frye. We would love to meet you and welcome you to our extended dental family.

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