What is TMJ Therapy?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is what connects the jaw to the skull, allowing people to open and shut their mouths. For a variety of reasons, this joint can become damaged, making it incredibly difficult for patients to open the jaws. In other cases, patients may even hear a clicking sound when they open or close their mouth. Fortunately, the experienced team at Evolution Dentistry are highly trained in treating issues within the TMJ in order to restore our patients' jaw function. Contact our office in Houston, TX today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mohamad El-Kheir or Dr. Matthew Gemp and learn more about how TMJ therapy can help you.
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What Are the Benefits of TMJ Therapy?
Temporomandibular joint pain can both get in the way of everyday activities and cause additional problems in and around the jaw. Benefits of addressing TMJ pain at Evolution Dentistry with Dr. El-Kheir or Dr. Gemp in Houston, TX include:
- Reducing jaw, neck, and facial pain
- Decreasing headache occurrence
- Minimizing clicking and/or popping in the jaw
- Diminishing the risk of tooth damage associated with grinding
- Increasing jaw mobility
- Restoring complete jaw and teeth functions
- Improving the appearance of your teeth
- Better sleep
How Does TMJ Therapy Work?
First, we will analyze your jaw during your initial appointment. This will allow us to gain a full understanding of what exactly is hindering the movement of your jaw. We do this by looking for any signs of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, or misalignment of the teeth. We will also likely check the muscles in and around the jawbone for soreness and/or inflammation. In some cases, we may also need to conduct an x-ray or bite analysis in order to uncover deeper issues within the jaw. Once this is complete, we will begin to create your custom treatment plan that is designed specifically with your needs in mind. The exact form of treatment will vary from one person to another, though it usually involves a night guard, splint therapy, or bite equilibration.
What Should I Expect After TMJ Therapy?
Along with treatments to solve the underlying cause of your temporomandibular joint dysfunction, Dr. Kheir can recommend different strategies to ease pain and other symptoms at home. This may include eating softer foods, not chewing gum and biting your nails, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Dr. Kheir may also show you exercises to strengthen your jaw or prescribe medication to relax your jaw muscles (and to alleviate pain, anxiety, or even inflammation).
You will continue to attend follow-up visits so Dr. Kheir can check the results of your TMJ treatment. If your therapy isn't helping, he might recommend another approach. As soon as your TMD is fully treated, you should still schedule annual dental exams at Evolution Dentistry to keep your jaw and teeth healthy.
What are the most common signs of TMJ?
The symptoms of TMJ can be unique for each person but typically include:
- Popping or clicking sounds or sensations in the jaw
- Limited ability to open or move the jaw
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Earaches without an ear infection
- Pain in the teeth, jaw, head, neck, face, or throat
- A stuffy or congested feeling in the ears
Will I need surgery to treat my TMJ?
Not necessarily, because at Evolution Dentistry, Dr. El-Kheir and Dr. Gemp offer multiple treatment options to help relieve your TMJ pain and symptoms. During your consultation, we will examine your jaw and may take x-rays or bite analysis to pinpoint the cause of your TMJ and then create a personalized treatment plan.
How common is it to have TMJ?
In America alone, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about 10 million adults (~12%) suffer from the pain and discomfort of TMJ.
Can TMJ pain go away on its own?
While some minor TMJ symptoms may go away on their own, in general, TMJ is a progressive condition meaning it often worsens over time. That's why at Evolution Dentistry, Dr. Gemp and Dr. El-Kheir recommend early diagnosis and treatment for TMJ to address its progression and get relief.
Restore Your Jaw Function
Everyday tasks, such as eating and talking, are made more difficult when there are issues within the TMJ. However, without a proper diagnosis, it can be incredibly difficult to solve these problems. Evolution Dentistry in Houston, TX, is home to a talented team of dental professionals with years of experience treating patients with TMJ pain. Visit us today for an appointment with Dr. Mohamad El-Kheir or Dr. Matthew Gemp.
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