TMJ Disorders: Our Guide to Evaluating and Restoring Temporomandibular Joint Function and Health
Dr. Yolanda Cintron applies her calming manner and diverse expertise in premium cosmetic dentistry, and holistic and environmentally-safe dental practices, to treat individuals with Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJDs). Patients travel from near and far to the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, location of the International Center for Dental Excellence. With Dr. Cintron’s broad perspective on TMJDs and related conditions, these patients finally achieve relief from the pain, immobility, and other distressing symptoms.
Could TMJ Disorders Be to Blame?
On both sides of our face are two “hinges,” the TM Joints connecting the jaw to the skull. When the joints and their related “parts” (cartilage, shock-absorbing disks, muscles, and so on) are healthy, these
hinges function as they should. They support comfortable, efficient chewing of food. Individuals can open and close their mouths without pain.
However, when any part of the joint is eroded, forced out of alignment, or otherwise “stressed,” chewing can become painful. It may hurt to simply open and close the mouth. The jaw can become “stuck” in one position. Patients with disordered TMJs may also complain about popping or clicking sounds or a “noisy jaw.”
TMJD side effects are widespread and transcend the oral cavity (mouth). You may be suffering from a TMJD if:
- You experience frequent headaches or migraines
- Pain radiates from your face to your jaw, neck, shoulders, ears, and back
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and ear infections are a concern
- Your face and jaw muscles feel sore often
This is not an exhaustive list. Even if you “check” many of the “boxes” listed above, we won’t know if the jaw joints are the source of your distress until after we evaluate you at our center.
Fast Pain Relief + Long-Term Treatment
Many patients may have been at their wit’s end of TMJ-related pain before visiting us. They may have resorted to pain relievers that do not resolve the underlying condition. They may have become increasingly reliant on medications. Our goal at the International Center for Dental Excellence is to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. From there, we can develop a treatment plan that effectively resolves pain and other symptoms over the near term and provides real resolution of the problem at hand. That way, your health, and function are restored.
Depending on what Dr. Cintron finds, she may recommend repairs of existing restorations to promote a better bite. Misalignment of the teeth and jaws can stress the joints. “Bruxism” (teeth-grinding) can also lead to TMJ-related damage. Nightguards or oral splints can protect the teeth and jaws, alleviating the forces placed on them. They can also slightly reposition the jaws. So, contact between opposing teeth is minimized. Patients may also experience fewer headaches and other symptoms (or less severe symptoms) with targeted exercises or techniques to release tension and relax and strengthen the muscles.