When you visit us to diagnose jaw symptoms, you can trust that you will be in good hands. We have helped many people such as yourself find relief from the symptoms of chronic TMJ. An oral exam will be done, so we can assess the sounds your jaw makes while you open and close your mouth. We will also check your jaw’s range of motion and feel around your jaw to spot any areas of discomfort or pain.
We may also take X-rays to view your jaw and joints, perform a CT scan to see the bones in your jaw joints, or take an MRI to check the jaw disc for problems. We can also use a TMJ arthroscopy by placing a cannula (a small tube) into the joint area so the arthroscope (a tiny camera) can go in and give us a closeup to see if you do have a TMJ/TMD disorder.
Before You Come In
It can help if you are prepared for your appointment with our specialist before you come in. To make the most of your time with us at your consultation, consider notating your answers to these commonly asked questions:
- Does your jaw “click or pop” when you move it?
- Is this “clicking” painful?
- Does your pain come and go, or is it constant?
- Did something trigger your pain?
- Do you have trouble opening your mouth?
- How long has it been since your symptoms started?
- Has this jaw pain happened before?
- Are you currently experiencing high stress?
- Are you getting constant head, neck or toothaches?
- What are your daily medications or supplements?
By coming to your appointment with detailed answers to these questions, we can better help you pinpoint the source of your jaw pain and provide the most effective treatment.
- Medications: Sometimes, TMJ can resolve by itself, especially when the symptoms are mild. For some patients, pain relievers or anti-inflammatories can help soothe discomfort. If the pain is temporary but severe, prescription pain relief can help. Low doses of Tricyclic antidepressants (like amitriptyline) can help with pain relief and grinding and clenching (bruxism) of your teeth while you sleep. Temporary relief from jaw pain can also be achieved with muscle relaxants your jaw is experiencing muscle spasms.
- Oral Appliance: wearing occlusal appliances like mouth guards or oral splints over your teeth can relieve the joints.
- TMJ Exercises: Performing certain exercises (physical therapy) that stretch the jaw muscles to make them stronger can help with pain, especially when combined with moist heat or ice and ultrasound.
- Changing Habits: Determining the cause of your issues can allow you to get the guidance you need to stop chronically chewing on your fingernails, constantly leaning on your chin or clenching your jaw in your sleep.
Surgical measures are often recommended if your TMJ worsens or doesn’t respond to less invasive measures:
- Corticosteroid Injections: Injecting Botox (botulinum toxin type A) into your jaw muscles to relieve TMJ pain.
- TMJ Arthrocentesis: Placing tiny needles in your jaw joint to remove the synovial fluid buildup around the joints.
- TMJ Arthroscopy: Inserting a thin, tiny tube into your joint space and using small instruments to repair damaged cartilage in the jaw joint.
- Modified Condylotomy: Performing surgery on the mandible but not in the joint itself can relieve pain if you have jaw locking.
- Open-joint Surgery: Done when there is a structural problem in the joint to repair or replace the joint.
Getting a thorough diagnosis will allow our TMJ specialists to help you improve your jaw health and find relief for your jaw pain. There are many options to choose from, and we will help you find the least invasive and most effective one for your needs. Please call us today to schedule your consultation!