Miami and Coral Gables, Florida

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ) is a condition that occurs when the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull, becomes misaligned. It affects millions of Americans and results in chronic, debilitating pain. Miami neuromuscular dentists Dr. Raul Garcia and Dr. Conchi Sanchez-Garcia can diagnose and treat the symptoms of TMD, giving you relief from this condition.

The latest statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research show that approximately 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder. If that number surprises you, consider this: many cases of the disorder go undiagnosed, meaning millions of individuals in this country may be living with chronic pain without knowing that lasting relief is even possible.

TMD and its Symptoms

Causes of TMD may vary.

However, a case of TMD can be caused by any situation or condition that exerts too much stress on the joints, nerves, and muscles in the facial region, such as:

  • Bite misalignment
  • Jaw misalignment
  • Injury or blow to the face or jaw
  • Grinding and/or clenching of teeth, also referred to as bruxism

Patients suffering from TMD can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, including:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds from the jaws as they open and close
  • Locking of the jaw joint, limiting its range of motion
  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)
  • Congested or stuffy ears
  • Headaches (often misdiagnosed as migraines)
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Uneven or uncomfortable bite

Chronic Pain 

Any symptom associated with the jaw is often a clear indicator that a case of TMD exists. Pain, which often is of severe levels and occurs on a chronic basis, also is a commonly reported symptom of TMJ disorder. This pain may manifest itself as severe, regularly occurring headaches, which often are misdiagnosed as migraine headaches. If you have been diagnosed with migraines, but the medication and other treatment methods only are managing the severity of the headaches but doing nothing to diminish their frequency, then TMJ disorder could be the actual cause of your headaches. Click here to learn more about TMJ headaches, or to educate yourself on how a neuromuscular dentist can tell the difference between TMJ headaches and migraine headaches.

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

TMJ Relief

Untreated TMD can mean a lifetime of chronic pain and progressive damage to your teeth and jaw. However, TMD can be successfully treated using the principles of neuromuscular dentistry, a specialization of dental science focused upon finding the ideal alignment of the bite and jaw. Click here to learn more about the importance of neuromuscular dentistry.

TMD treatment is different for each person and depends on the nature of your condition. Our Miami neuromuscular dentists will first work to relieve the pain caused by your TMJ disorder. Once you experience relief from the pain, the underlying cause of your condition will be addressed.

Your treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Medications to alleviate the pain, such as painkillers, tricyclic antidepressants, muscle relaxants, or corticosteroid drugs
  • Bite guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • Dental restorations intended to improve the alignment of your bite
  • Orthodontics
  • Orthotic mouthpieces to help move your jaw back into proper alignment
  • Surgery, which only is reserved for severe cases (less than 1 percent of all individuals suffering from TMD)

TMJ Disorder in Miami

For more information, please see this list of frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder. To schedule a consultation with one of the neuromuscular dentists at Miami Designer Smiles, call our office today at (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to provide comprehensive oral care to patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in Florida.