Questions About TMJ Disorder

Miami and Coral Gables, Florida

What is TMJ disorder?

Video courtesy of Marina Del Rey Dentist, Dr. Scott Tamura

Temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMD or TMJ disorder) is a condition that occurs when your temporomandibular joint, the joint connecting your jaw to your skull, becomes misaligned. TMJ disorder often can result in chronic, debilitating pain that impedes your ability to function on a daily basis. However, the condition easily can be treated by applying the principles of neuromuscular dentistry, which focus on bringing your jaw and bite back to its ideal resting position.

At Miami Designer Smiles, our neuromuscular dentists can identify if TMJ disorder exists and, if the disorder is detected, provide lasting relief. Here are some common questions about TMJ disorder, as asked by our very own patients in South Florida.

What causes TMJ disorder?

There are many factors, which may contribute to the development of TMJ disorder, which occurs whenever the temporomandibular joint enters a state of dysfunction. The most common cause of TMJ is as the result of an injury—usually sustained by a blow or impact, and sustained to the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles in the head and neck.

Other issues that can lead to a cause of TMD include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which clinically is referred to as bruxism
  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket of your temporomandibular joint
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, emanating from the temporomandibular joint
  • Stress, which causes you to tighten your facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

The symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary greatly from person to person, but frequently reported symptoms of the disorder include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Clicking or popping sound that is heard when opening and closing your jaw
  • Locking jaw, which limits your range of motion
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Uneven or uncomfortable bite
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in your ears

Click here for a complete list of the symptoms of TMJ disorder.

How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

If you think you have TMJ disorder or have been diagnosed with it by another medical professional, then our Miami neuromuscular dentists, Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia, will perform an examination that may include the following methods:

  • Evaluating your temporomandibular joint for pain and tenderness
  • Listening for clicking or popping sounds during jaw movement
  • Looking for a limited range of motion in your jaw
  • Examining the alignment of your bite

The staff of oral health professionals at Miami Designer Smiles may take panoramic X-rays to provide a more detailed view of your jaw and teeth to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Your local Miami dentist uses digital X-ray technology, which takes more precise images while emitting a fraction of the radiation compared to traditional X-ray machines.

If I have TMD, should I seek help from a medical professional?

Absolutely! If you do not seek treatment for a case of TMJ disorder, the problem—and any associated effects, such as pain—only will get worse. The truth is that a neuromuscular dentist is the best-qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat TMD. Neuromuscular dentists like Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia at Miami Designer Smiles specialize in finding and/or restoring the optimum alignment of your bite and jaw. Neuromuscular dentists undergo intensive, rigorous post-graduate training that goes far beyond what is taught in dental school. Our Miami neuromuscular dentists are proud to have completed study at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), the most prestigious post-graduate dental education facility in the United States.

Click here to learn more about neuromuscular dentistry, and its importance.

How does Miami Designer Smiles treat TMJ disorder?

Treatment is different for everyone and depends on the nature and severity of your TMJ disorder. First, our Miami neuromuscular dentists will work to alleviate any pain that you are feeling as a consequence of your TMJ disorder. Once pain has been managed, the team of oral health professionals at Miami Designer Smiles will work to correct whatever underlying issues are causing the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint and consequent misalignment of your jaw.

Miami Designer Smiles may use any combination of the following treatments to resolve a case of TMD:

  • Pain medications, such as painkillers, muscle relaxers, or corticosteroid drugs
  • Orthotic mouthpieces
  • Custom-made bite appliances
  • Orthodontic treatments
  • Dental restorations, constructed to improve the alignment of your bite
  • Surgery, which is reserved only for severe cases (less than 1 percent of all patients with TMD)

The needs of each patient vary, but our Miami neuromuscular dentists usually prefer to treat TMD through the use of oral appliance therapy. These oral appliances feel and look similar to a mouth guard that you may see available for purchase over the counter, but they made of a higher grade of materials and from impressions of the mouth to make for a secure, comfortable, effective fit. When worn, our orals appliance apply gentle pressure to guide your jaws into their preferred natural alignment, improving the function of the temporomandibular joint and resolving your case of TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Miami

If you think you have TMJ disorder, relief is within your reach. Take the first step and schedule a consultation at Miami Designer Smiles by calling (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in Florida.