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TMJ Therapy – Wayne, Pennsylvania

Relieve Jaw Pain for Happy, Healthy Smiles

Sometimes jaw pain is just that – discomfort caused by damage to the jaw, but there are some cases where pain in the jaw is indicative of other concerns like nighttime teeth grinding and clenching or increased stress. Those suffering from chronic jaw pain may actually have a condition called TMJ dysfunction. Often referred to simply as just TMJ or TMD, this chronic condition is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms that may not always be connected. If you’re concerned about TMJ dysfunction, call our Wayne dental office to schedule a consultation appointment. At Wayne Family Dentistry, we are happy to work with patients to receive an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to address their discomfort and ensure comfortable jaw movement.

What is TMJ Dysfunction?

Woman holding cheek in pain

The TMJ are the temporomandibular joints that connect the jaw to the skull bone. When these joints function properly, they allow the mouth to open and close comfortably. When these joints are strained, damaged, or inflamed, the result is painful or impeded jaw movement.

What Causes TMJ Dysfunction?

Man holding cheek in pain

There are many different factors that can contribute to TMJ dysfunction. Some people experience pain and inflammation in the TMJ only when they are stressed. Others struggle with chronic TMJ issues. The underlying cause of TMJ dysfunction is incorrect positioning of the bite. When we bite down properly, the TMJ move smoothly and allow unimpeded motion. When the bite does not fit together in the ideal positioning, the TMJ are strained every time you speak, chew, yawn, or smile. This leads to significant pain and impeded jaw movement.

What are the Adverse Effects of TMJ Dysfunction?

Dentist examining patient’s bite alignment

When people are suffering from TMJ, they are responding to the  incorrect positioning of the bite. When teeth don’t fit together properly, the person will continually reposition the bite placing continued strain on the TMJ. Overtime, the healthy, functional TMJ are damaged and the shape is irreparably changed due to the chronic strain and repositioning.

How Will I Know I Have TMJ Dysfunction?

Man with healthy smile

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, we’ll need to visually examine your bite, feel the way the joints move, listen for the sounds of grinding, capture diagnostic images, and ask a series of questions to better understand your symptoms. Some of the warning signs of TMJ dysfunction you should look out for include:

  • Jaw pain constant ache and/or sharp pain when opening and closing the mouth
  • Grinding or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth
  • Inability to open mouth or impeded motion
  • Excessive dental wear, broken or chipped teeth especially back teeth, and teeth that feel lose
  • Development of “tori” bony growths behind the teeth
  • Past history of bite alignment issues, teeth grinding and clenching, or chronic tooth decay and damage
  • Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
  • Radiating head, neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Earaches and ringing in the ears