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Biting Through TMJ

What is TMJ or TMJD?
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, also known as TMJ or TMJD, are conditions that affect the jaw joints and muscles. TMJ or TMJD occur when the jaws, teeth, and jaw muscles are not in proper alignment. According to the National Institute of Dental Health and Craniofacial Research, TMJ and TMJD may affect over 10 million people in the U.S.

The condition is frequently characterized by jaw pain and dysfunction, restricted movement of the jaw, discomfort while eating or chewing, popping or clicking of the jaw, or locking of the jaw. Other symptoms include headaches, facial or neck pain, lightheadedness, stuffiness in the ears, ringing in the ears, swelling of the face, and shoulder pain.

TMJ or TMJD may be caused by a variety of factors including a misaligned bite, missing teeth, a strong punch to the mouth area, or long-term teeth grinding. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, although often painful, are typically not considered to be medically serious. However, without proper treatment, jaw pain and discomfort may worsen.

How is TMJ or TMJD treated?
Treatment for TMJ or TMJD depends on your specific situation and can range from traditional methods to aggressive modalities. For more mild cases, physical therapy, posture training, or ice packs may be prescribed for the jaw to help alleviate pain. In these cases, the patient is given specific exercises to perform frequently and consistently at home.

If nighttime teeth grinding is an underlying problem, a customized mouth guard may be used at night to inhibit teeth grinding. Fabricated stabilization splints for the jaw may help certain patients while they regain jaw stabilization. Reconstructive dentistry and specialized implants may be considered. In addition, pain medications may be prescribed to help ease the pain temporarily. Finally, alternative treatment options for more serious cases may include oral surgery, orthognathic surgey or Botox® (botulinum toxin type A) treatments to reduce pain and inflammation.

At SmilingYangs, Dr. Yang’s focus is to provide a thorough examination in order to identify the underlying cause of your TMJ or TMJD, and determine the optimal solution for long-term relief.

How is TMJ or TMJD prevented?
In order to prevent TMJ and TMJD, here are a few tips:
• Avoid frequent gum chewing
• Relax your face, keeping teeth apart and maintain proper neck and shoulder posture
• Avoid clenching or grinding teeth
• Work on reducing your level of stress
• Avoid postures that crunch your shoulder and neck together, such as holding the phone between your head and shoulder or supporting your chin with your hand

How can I find out if I have TMJ or TMJD?
Consult with a reputable, highly trained orthodontist such as Dr. James T. Yang, B.D.S., D.D.S., D.M.Sc., who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental irregularities including TMJ and TMJD. Different from dentists, orthodontists complete two to three years of advanced education in orthodontics in addition to a four-year dental graduate program.

If you think you or a family member may have TMJ or TMJD, contact SmilingYangs Orthodontics to obtain a comprehensive orthodontic evaluation. Dr. Yang will discuss your diagnosis and work with you to determine the best treatment.

SmilingYangs Orthodontics
Since 1998, USC and Harvard – trained Orthodontist Dr. James T. Yang, B.D.S., D.D.S., D.M.Sc. has provided state-of-the-art orthodontic care and service to the South Florida community. SmilingYangs Orthodontics, opened in 1998, is dedicated to providing excellent orthodontic care, treating each patient with respect and professionalism. Dr. Yang and his talented team at SmilingYangs Orthodontics take pride in their office atmosphere: a friendly, comfortable environment with courteous, attentive, and punctual staff members. Learn more about SmilingYangs Orthodontics and their excellent patient reviews at www.smilingyangs.com or call (954) 623-8446 to schedule an appointment today.

Office Hours

Monday : Closed

Tuesday : 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Wednesday : 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thursday : 8:00 am - 5:15 pm

Friday : 8:00 am - 5:15 pm

Sat (every other) : 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Sunday : Closed

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