TMJ Treatment

Do you suffer from headaches, facial and upper body pain? Do you have ringing in your ears or numbness in your fingers? Do you regularly take over-the-counter painkillers, like Tylenol or Ibuprofen?

Chronic pain is not normal, and neither is taking daily doses of pain medications. But you should know that you are not alone.

In the USA, about 45 million people report having regular headaches. Many suffer the debilitating pain of these chronic problems, never associating them with their mouths! We have found that these headaches and upper body pains are frequently linked to temporomandibular joint disease (also known as TMD or TMJ).

Through TMJ treatment, the dentists at Avery and Meadows can help relieve chronic pain.

Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction

There is a direct relationship between oral health and chronic pain. Three important factors affect TMJ health — the teeth, the muscles and the temporomandibular joints. People who suffer from TMJ dysfunction have a structural imbalance in their jaw-to-skull relationship.

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may be a candidate for TMJ treatment:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Unexplained loose teeth
  • Worn, chipped or cracked teeth
  • Cracked, chipped or broken dental restorations
  • Pain or soreness around the jaw joints
  • Pain in teeth that seems to move around
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Facial pain
  • Clicking or grating sounds in the jaw joints
  • Limited movement or locking jaw
  • Numbness in your fingers and arms
  • Congestion or stuffiness of the ears

Diagnosing Bruxism

Diagnosis

The first step in diagnosing TMJ is a thorough interview with the patient. Your doctor will listen to your concerns then does a complete evaluation of your bite, examining the teeth, muscles and joints.

If your doctor finds evidence of malocclusion (a poorly aligned bite), he will recommend conservative, non-surgical treatment to return your bite to an optimal, functional position.

Treatment Options

To correct your bite and eliminate your TMJ pain, your doctor may use splint therapy or restorative dentistry to adjust the position of your jaw, and relieve any stress on the surrounding muscles and joints. If your symptoms also include nighttime teeth grinding, your dentist may fit you with a custom-made nightguard appliance. The nightguard will reduce the damage to your teeth from grinding or clenching during sleep, and reduce any grinding-related symptoms.

My wife and I have been patients of Dr. Avery since 1981. Dr. Avery and I have known each other a long time: we were high school associates in the same organization at our respective high schools. However, we chose Dr. Avery when I returned from active duty in the Army and Sue and Jim Baker – my in-laws and patients of Dr. Avery – recommended him. I needed several crowns because my fillings were deteriorating and I was experiencing some pain. In addition, my broken front two teeth had always been a cosmetic problem until Dr. Avery repaired them. I had great confidence in the outcome since I knew that Dr. Avery had instructed on crowns in medical school. Fixing those teeth was like getting a new lease on life!

Everyone in this office is caring and friendly and they always treat us like their own family. They have always gone out of their way to help us when we had special, unscheduled needs. Lisa is an exceptional hygienist as well. Our experience with Dr. Avery and Meadows’ office has always been first class – including the professionalism of their schedulers, receptionists, and bookkeepers. I would recommend his office to everyone! Just last week, I recommended that my boss go straight to Dr. Avery’s office and get his crown difficulties resolved.

Rob