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What is TMJ?
Are you experiencing headaches, jaw tenderness, earaches and other facial pain? You may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. This is the joint at which the lower jaw connects with the skill and upper jaw. These joints are located on either side of the face just below the ears. These joints enable movement of the lower jaw. We are able to chew and speak because of the movement of this joint. Conditions affecting these joints and the surrounding ligaments, muscles and nerves can be complex to deal with. At Timothy A. Hess, DDS, PLLC you can access specialized TMJ treatment services in Auburn. We will provide you with a treatment plan to address the specific problem and ensure long term benefits.
What is TMD?
TMD is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. It is a broad term used to describe any condition that affects the TMJ and the associated muscles, nerves and ligaments. TMD often results when the jaw joints, the muscles or ligaments become irritated and inflamed. The conditions can be acute or chronic. The symptoms resulting from the condition will also vary from mild to severe.
What Causes Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
There are a variety of reasons patients develop TMD. Some of the most common causes of TMD include:
- Bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding)
- Arthritis affecting the TMJ
- Dislocation of the TMJ
- Acute trauma
- Improper bite
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Proper diagnosis of TMD is vital for treatment. Dr. Timothy A. Hess is a TMJ specialist Auburn residents trust for the best care. Schedule an appointment for consultation at our clinic and undergo a comprehensive examination of the head and neck. We provide TMJ therapy services in Auburn based on the specific problem.
What are Common TMJ Symptoms?
TMJ is common amongst people between the ages of 20 and 40 years. It is more common amongst women than it is in men. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty in opening your mouth wide
- Shoulder pain
- Neck pain
- Locking of the jaw when the mouth is open or closed
- A feeling of fatigue in your face
- Clicking, grating or popping sounds when you move your jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Change in bite
- Swelling in the sides of the face
What Treatments are Available for TMJ Disorders?
There are a wide range of treatments available for the treatment of TMJ disorders. We offer TMJ treatment in Auburn based on your condition. In many instances, we offer patients conservative TMJ therapy services in Auburn. These include:
There are a number of different oral appliances that have been designed to aid in the TMJ treatment of TMD. The most common appliance utilized is the “bite guard”. A “bite guard” or “occlusal guard” has many functions: it can be used to protect the teeth against clenching/grinding and can also be modified to decrease the biting forces applied to either the jaw joint (TMJ) or the jaw muscles. The particular type of oral appliance that will work for you depends on the origin of the pain determined in a clinical examination.
Botulinum Toxin (Botox)
Botox® (botulinum toxin) is a purified protein that is used in medicine to inhibit muscle contraction. We usually think of Botox® as a method of treating lines and wrinkles in the face, which it is very effective for. However, it can also be used to treat muscles in the head and neck that are causing pain. Myofascial pain is a type of TMD pain problem, which is created by tension and overuse of muscles in the head and neck. Botox is very effective at treating these bands of symptomatic muscle fibers and relieving our patients of pain. The effects of Botox® are only temporary, so it is common that the TMJ therapy needs to be periodically (every two to four months) to provide the desired effect.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
This involves the use of low-level electrical currents to stimulate the facial muscles around the jaw bone. This helps to relax these muscles and reduce pain.
This involves the use of sound waves to introduce heat to the muscles, ligaments and joints. The deep heat treatment helps to relieve soreness and improve movement in the joint.
When should you consider TMJ Surgery?
At Timothy A. Hess, DDS, PLLC we only consider TMJ surgery after all other treatment options have been explored and proven ineffective. Surgery is reserved for those severe cases. Our TMJ specialist in Auburn will walk you through the risks and benefits of TMJ surgery and determine whether you are a good candidate for surgery.
We can Help You
Do you have pain in your jaw? Do you experience frequent unexplained headaches? Contact our clinic to schedule consultation with Dr. Timothy A. Hess and determine whether you suffer from TMD. We will provide you with effective treatment for your condition.