Are you experiencing a sore jaw, aching in your face, jaw inflammation, a ringing in your ears, or frequent headaches? If so, you may be experiencing TMJ disorder. Your TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint, connects your lower jaw to the temporal bone of your skull, and it’s a source of trouble for many patients. If you’re seeking relief for TMJ disorder, Drs. Olsen, Napolitano, and Cangialosi offer TMJ treatment at our Staten Island, NJ office.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder, also called TMD, refers to a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. For some patients, this is a temporary condition (caused by stress and other life factors) that goes away on its own. But other patients develop significant, long-term symptoms that require TMJ treatment.
You may also hear the condition described as TMD. TMJ is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint, while TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. Both are correct in describing the condition.
The following symptoms indicate that you might have an issue with your temporomandibular joint:
- Jaw popping or clicking when you eat, speak, or yawn
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
- Pain in the face
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain around the ears
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Frequent headaches
If you have been suffering from any of these symptoms, our team at Olsen, Napolitano, and Cangialosi is here to help.
The Causes of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder is quite common, affecting millions of Americans at some point in their adult lives. The temporomandibular joint combines a hinge action with sliding motions, and when everything is functioning smoothly, you’ll hardly notice your jaw moving. TMD typically occurs when:
- The joint is damaged by an impact or an accident
- The small shock-absorbing disc in the joint erodes or moves out of shape
- Your cartilage is damaged by arthritis
- Excessive stress causes you to grind your teeth at night
- Long-term teeth clenching
In some cases, the cause of your TMD will not be clear. Symptoms can occasionally appear without warning. Fortunately, we can diagnose the cause of those symptoms and provide effective treatment methods.
Treatment for Your TMJ
Though it’s possible for a TMD to go away on its own, taking a chance on no treatment could be a gamble that destroys your life. Even if you think your TMD is mild, we recommend having it checked out just in case.
For persistent and serious TMDs, we can help relieve your discomfort and improve the condition of your jaw. Our treatments include:
Exercises for TMJ Relief
In addition to providing professional TMJ treatment, Drs. Olsen, Napolitano, and Cangialosi may recommend certain exercises or physical therapy options to consider to help you find relief.
Physical therapy can help to relieve your jaw pain as well as other symptoms by stretching and strengthening your jaw muscles.
At-home stretches and massages are a great way to relax your jaw muscles and treat pain throughout the day. If your jaw is bothering you, learning a few quick exercises can be an on-the-go relief.
Acupuncture has been shown to help alleviate issues such as back and knee pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis. Though acupuncture may not be for everyone, it may be able to relieve some of your symptoms.
Relaxation techniques can reduce your bodily tension, especially in the areas that affect your TMJ. Learning to relax your muscles through meditation or other means can help to reduce your symptoms.
Treatment for TMJ at Olsen, Napolitano, and Cangialosi
If you have been struggling with chronic TMJ issues, our team at Olsen, Napolitano, and Cangialosi can help. We offer TMJ treatment at our Staten Island, NJ office and our patients experience a high rate of success and satisfaction. If you believe you have symptoms of TMD, we encourage you to reach out to us by calling (718) 948-5111. A friendly staff member will answer your call or respond to your message as soon as they can.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I see a doctor for TMJ?
Treating your TMD before it develops into a serious condition can prevent you from going through pain and difficulty eating, speaking, and moving your jaw. If your TMJ pain is persistent and severe, we highly recommend reaching out to us.
What causes jaw pain when chewing?
If there’s an issue with your TMJ, you may experience pain while chewing due to the joint in your jaw grinding against itself in the wrong way.
Is ear pain when chewing or yawning normal?
Ear pain while chewing or yawning isn’t normal, and we recommend seeing a medical professional for treatment.
Should my jaw pop when I chew?
Though jaw popping can be a sign of a TMD, not all popping is indicative of a disorder. Your jaw popping may be benign, but it’s still best to get it checked out just in case.
Can TMJ cause hearing loss?
Yes, TMDs can lead to hearing loss due to the proximity of the TMJ to your ear.
Can TMJ cause muscle spasms?
TMDs and muscle tension are related, as tension in your jaw can cause issues with your TMJ. Extensive muscle tension can also lead to muscle spasms.
Can TMJ lead to sinus headaches?
One of the most common symptoms of a TMD is headaches.
What is the best pain medication for TMJ?
You can use over-the-counter pain medications for your TMD, but if you still experience pain we can help you find something that will comfort you.
What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?
When learning about TMJ treatment, you may see it described as TMD. TMJ is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint, while TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. Many people use the terms TMJ and TMD interchangeably and both terms are correct.
We Can Relieve Your Pain
Living with a clicking jaw that causes pain every time you want to eat or speak is no way to live. It’s time to find a solution to your jaw pain, and we can help.
To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at (718) 948-5111 to speak with us. You can also send us a message through our online contact form to chat with us.
We accept many insurances. Please contact one of our Insurance Coordinators to discuss your dental coverage plan.
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