TMJ Diagnosis

TMJ Diagnosis

TMJ Diagnosis and treating TMJ disorders

TMJ Diagnosis

TMJ Diagnosis and treating TMJ disorders

Dr. Benjamin Polan does TMJ diagnosis in Beverly, MA

TMJ Diagnosis and treating TMJ disorders

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint that connects your lower jaw to the temporal bones placed on the sides of your head. Movements of the temporomandibular joint are regulated by accompanying jaw muscles placed close by. There are various causes of TMJ disorder which cause numerous different pains and symptoms. Teeth grinding is a popular cause of TMJ disorders; it is a habitual act that slowly grinds down and dislocates ligaments that hold the joint together. A TMJ disorder can also appear after the joint is injured by impact, or for any reason that areas of neighboring jaw bones begin to erode and cause misalignment.

TMJ disorder diagnosis

Due to the numerous causes and symptoms of TMJ disorders, it would be ineffective to have a standard test to diagnose a patient with a TMJ disorder. Symptoms only determine if you are suffering from a TMJ disorder in the first place. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • Painful or painless clicking, grating and popping in the jaw joint
  • Changes in the alignment of the upper and lower teeth
  • Jaw muscle spasms
  • Jaw locking
  • Affected posturing
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Limited jaw movement and stiffness
  • Jaw, face and neck pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, a TMJ dentist such as Dr. Benjamin Polan in Beverly, MA begins to rule out other conditions to determine if a TMJ disorder is the culprit for your suffering. Once it has been determined that you have a TMJ disorder, there are various treatments ranging from preventative actions to surgery.

Simple Treatments

In the beginning, your dentist is likely to recommend that you take preventative actions such as avoiding gum chewing, wide yawning and eating soft foods to avoid the potentially temporary discomfort of a TMJ disorder. Along with preventative measures, simple actions such as applying ice packs to the jawline and the use of over-the-counter inflammatory pain medicines also help with TMJ disorder comfort.

Relaxation and jaw stretching techniques can also be added to your pain relief regiment. Reduction of stress lessens tension in the jawline, and employing stretching techniques allow for wider jaw movements without experiencing pain.

Appliance Treatments

Stabilization sprints are often used for TMJ disorder treatments. They are used to prevent teeth grinding and offer pain relief from jaw clenching, especially at night. These mechanisms, often called night splints, are effective, but are not designed to change your bite. When a permanent change in your bite is required, orthodontic braces can be employed to permanently rearrange your bite. Braces are placed on your teeth for up to 24 months to gradually change your bite to prevent TMJ disorder pain.

Cosmetic Treatments

At times, the uneven shape of your teeth or gaps in your jawline due to lost teeth are the key reasons for jaw misalignment. Crowns and dental veneers balance the shape of your teeth if they have been damaged by teeth grinding, cavities, old crowns or injury.

Implants and bridges replace any missing teeth that cause bite rearrangement. Use of these cosmetic treatments correct uneven teeth and place your jawline back in sync. Once your jawline is stabilized, your TMJ disorders are reduced significantly or eliminated.

Surgery

Surgery is the last resort for TMJ disorder relief, and is only used when a patient is suffering from severe pain or lockjaw that is unresponsive to prior treatment. The following surgeries are the most common for TMJ disorders:

  • Arthrocentesis- The simplest form of surgery. A procedure that injects a saline and steroid formula into the jawline to unstick cartilage.
  • TMJ microsurgery- A more advanced surgery that repairs the temporomandibular joint through a small incision in the ear.
  • Open surgery- A more open incision is used near the ear to remove a larger amount of damaged cartilage near the temporomandibular joint.

It is best to visit a TMJ dentist as soon as you notice any changes in your bite and feel any discomfort in your jawline. Thankfully, the craft-work of jaw muscles and joints are complex and often used so discomfort is quickly noticeable to notify you of any malfunction. An experienced TMJ dentist such as Dr. Benjamin Polan deals with TMJ disorders by helping you understand every step of the process, avoiding complicated issues and unnecessary discomfort.

Life transforming dental solutions

By Beverly MA Dentist Dr. Benjamin Polan

TMJ Ear Pain

Ear Pain

TMJ ear pain

Ear Pain

TMJ ear pain

Hear out Dr. Benjamin Polan on ear pain in Beverly, MA

TMJ ear pain

TMJ disorders can cause pain in the ears as well as pain in the jaw, neck and shoulders. It’s comforting for most patients to learn that TMJ ear pain is very treatable. A conversation with an expert TMJ dentist can help to establish the exact cause of this pain as TMJ causes vary from patient to patient, and choose the best course of action to relieve the discomfort and achieve eventuac l recovery.

How the ear is connected to the jaw

Ears are dynamic organs, they’re controlled by muscles just like the rest of the face. One way to demonstrate this is to place your finger firmly inside of your ear and then widely open and close your jaw. Do you feel the movement? When one is on an airplane and an uncomfortable level of pressure builds up inside the ears’ eustachian tubes, passengers often reach for a stick of gum. This is because the act of moving the jaw muscles can help relieve the ear pressure build-up.

How TMJ disorders lead to ear pain

Because the temporomandibular joint is very closely connected to the muscles that control the ears, a misalignment or malfunction puts pressure on the muscles that both surround and control the ears and in turn can place excess pressure on the ear’s nerves. Also, the pain of TMJ disorder is sometimes transferred directly to the ears as opposed to its origin point in the jaw.

Finding the unique cause of your pain will help to determine which course of treatment will be used, so a TMJ dentist such as Dr. Benjamin Polan in Beverly, MA will conduct a very thorough patient history and physical examination to discover the underlying problems.

Symptoms of TMJ ear pain

Here are some listed symptoms potentially caused by TMJ:

  • Sharp shooting pain in ear
  • Dull aching pain in ear
  • Feeling of fullness in the eustachian tubes, similar to the discomfort of ears popping
  • Pain in ears when chewing
  • Pain in ears when speaking
  • Ringing or other unusual noises in ears

How your TMJ dentist can help

Once the cause of your specific TMJ ear pain is discovered, your dentist can offer many different options for treatment which can sometimes require nothing more than hot and cold compresses, muscle relaxants or pain relievers. A specially designed night-guard designed to prevent tooth-grinding may also provide substantial relief. In extreme cases surgery may help as well, but should be considered last after all other treatment options have failed.

Dr. Benjamin Polan in Beverly, MA specializes in neuromuscular dentistry and the treatment of TMJ ear pain. His experienced and friendly staff will explain the possible causes of your pain and work with you to decide the best course of action for your unique situation and guide you on your journey to recovery.

Life transforming dental solutions

By Beverly MA Dentist Dr. Benjamin Polan