TMJ Treatment Nashua, NH

TMJ Treatment An Overview

Recurring headaches, neck and/or jaw pain, worn teeth, and a persistent clicking or popping of the jaw joint are all signs of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — often referred to as TMJ.

Our dentists have extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of bite disorders such as TMJ and can help patients achieve results that will not only relieve symptoms but address overall dental health.

We apply the principles of complete dentistry, taking a comprehensive approach to evaluating a patient’s bite. Complete dentistry goes beyond treating the symptoms of a bite disorder and seeks to identify and treat the underlying cause to restore balance to the bite.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, is a small joint located in front of your ears, responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ is also commonly used to describe a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) in which the jaw joints or teeth do not fit together properly, resulting in an imbalance in the bite.

In almost all cases, a TMJ disorder will cause tooth wear and may contribute to tooth decay and/or (gum) disease.

What Causes TMJ?

There is no single cause for TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:

  • Injury to the head, neck, or face
  • Arthritis in the TMJ joint
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
  • Stress

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to correct TMJ?

The length of time it takes to treat TMJ varies between patients. The average treatment time is between two to three years. Patients may begin to see the positive effects of treatment after a few months, however it may take an extended amount of time to fully treat TMJ.

How long does a flare-up of TMJ last?

On average TMJ flare ups last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. You can help relieve symptoms from a flare up by massaging your jaw and facial muscles, and by applying a hot or cold compress to the affected area.

Can TMJ be on one side only?

TMJ commonly only affects one side of the jaw. However, after some time, you will feel it on the other side of your jaw as well. This is because it has to work twice as hard for both sides, so TMJ may eventually affect both sides of the mouth.

What should you not do with TMJ?

If you suffer from TMJ we recommend refraining from chewing gum, eating hard or chewy foods, and chewing with only one side of the mouth. Patients should also focus on good posture, as slouching may contribute to TMJ.

Is Vitamin C good for TMJ?

Yes, you can take Vitamin C supplements to improve the immune system. It also helps fight against TMJ symptoms, as it helps relieve muscular and physical stress. However, it’s not a permanent solution.

How should I sleep with TMJ?

If you suffer from TMJ, the best posture to sleep in is on your back. We recommend sleeping on your back because it does not put any strain on the jaw. It will also ensure that you properly support your head, neck, and shoulders.

TMJ Treatment What to Expect

Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary greatly between patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis difficult. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, often characterized by tooth wear and/or damage
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Limited mobility in the jaw
  • Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
  • Earaches

Treatment for TMJ Disorders in Nashua

Oral Appliance Therapy

Our dentists may recommend the use of an oral appliance such as a mouth guard or dental splint to alleviate specific symptoms of TMJ disorder. A mouth guard or splint is often the first step, used early in treatment and not needed as a long-term solution. A dental split can be helpful to help identify a comfortable and stable bite position.

Bite Correction

When appropriate, the dentist will perform occlusal equilibration – or bite correction, to bring the teeth into proper contact. This will allows the jaw to open and close in its proper position and eliminate stress on the joints and resulting pain.

This process is a series of adjustments made to the teeth which may include:

  • Removing tooth structure
  • Applying dental crowns or porcelain veneers
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Implant dentistry

Orthodontics

If the teeth are not in the proper position, orthodontics may be needed to reposition the teeth, allowing them to fit together harmoniously. We offer Invisalign for adults who wish to avoid traditional metal braces.

Restorative Dentistry

In cases where teeth have been significantly worn and damaged restorative dentistry may be needed to bring the teeth back to their proper health and beauty. The dentist may use dental crowns, porcelain veneers, or cosmetic bonding to restore teeth.