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Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.

The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with everyday life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.

TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness. The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.

The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth, and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth. It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit Dr. Detinich for an exact diagnosis.

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TMJ could be a result of several different problems. Bad bite is the most common, but an injury resulting from a blow to the meniscus cartilage is also a possibility. Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patients bite, take x-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis, and recommend necessary treatment.

Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. A bite relationship analysis may be recommended by the dentist. Dr. Detinich can also provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, the Dr. Detinich may also prescribe muscle relaxants.

A better option is to change the shape of the teeth, and get rid of the bad bite completely. This procedure is often called realignment. Realignment is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms, and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times before. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer any questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.

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FAQ Questions

What is the main cause of TMJ?

TMJ causes may include: Jaw injury (like a broken or dislocated jaw), teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), arthritis in your jaw joint, malocclusion (when your teeth don't fit together exactly as they should), and stress.

What will happen if TMJ is not treated?

Untreated TMJ can cause constant tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, that can disrupt sleep and make it difficult to concentrate. Because our body's sense of balance is in the inner ears, the inflammation caused by TMJ disorder can impact balance as well, resulting in dizziness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.

How is TMJ treated?

A specially molded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night. Another option is changing the shape of the teeth, and getting rid of the bad bite completely in a process called realignment. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth.

Where is TMJ pain felt?

The TMJ sits right behind a major nerve in the face, which is at the center of a network of nerves that cross and connect throughout the face, head and neck. So when the TMJ is affected, pain can spread throughout the eyes, ears, mouth, forehead, cheeks, tongue, teeth and throat.

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