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1835 Cynthia Ln
Merrick, NY 11566
Practice Logo
1835 Cynthia Ln
Merrick, NY 11566

Treatment of TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders often cause discomfort in the cheek, jaw, or ear areas and can affect normal jaw function.

Everyone has two temporomandibular joints on each side of the face to connect the skull and jawbone. Often referred to as TMJ, these joints act as sliding hinges whenever the mouth is opened or closed. When the TMJ function as they should, people rarely give them a second thought, but when they cause chronic pain, it’s called “TMJ disorder” or TMD.

TMJ disorder is often difficult to diagnose because it may manifest as symptoms like headaches and earaches. It’s also difficult to treat because TMD can have a number of causes that require different forms of treatment. It’s critical that you see a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorder in order to find lasting relief.

Types of TMJ pain

TMJ conditions fall into three main categories:

  • Myofascial pain – discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function (grinding teeth can result in this type of TMJ disorder)
  • Internal derangement of the joint – a possible indicator of a displaced disc, dislocated jaw, or injury to the condyle
  • Arthritis – a degenerative inflammatory disorder

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders are frequently intensified by stress and can include:

  • Headaches
  • Soreness in the cheek or jaw area
  • Pain in or around the ears
  • Facial pain
  • Tight jaws
  • Popping or clicking sounds when opening mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing

Frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder

How do you fix TMJ?

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for TMJ pain. Finding the right treatment for you requires diagnosing the underlying cause of your TMD, as treating TMJ pain caused by teeth grinding will be different from treating pain caused by arthritis. The most common solutions we use include stabilization splints, Botox injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy exercises. Self-care strategies like eating a diet of soft foods and alleviating inflammation with ice packs can also help during flare-ups.

Can TMJ go away on its own?

TMJ does sometimes go away on its own, particularly if it’s been brought on by a stressful life event or injury, but if pain is persistent, it’s important to seek treatment to prevent permanent damage to the joint.

How can I fix my TMJ without surgery?

Surgery is considered a last resort for the most extreme cases of TMJ disorder. If self-managed care hasn’t helped, stabilization splints, Botox injections, and anti-inflammatory medications are a less invasive option than surgery.

Do night guards really work?

Yes, if your TMJ pain is caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching, a night guard or stabilization splint will relax your jaw muscles to reduce inflammation and pain.

Does stress make TMJ worse?

Stress and TMJ disorder are closely linked. For many patients, stress causes muscle tension and this muscle tension leads to nighttime jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

Elite Family Dental Care

1835 Cynthia Ln
Merrick, NY 11566
Read more about our dental services

Cosmetic Dentistry
Our experienced dentists help patients enhance their smiles by offering the latest in cosmetic treatments including Zoom! teeth whitening, Invisalign, and natural-looking dental implants.

Restorative Dentistry
Restorative treatments preserve your natural teeth wherever possible. Whether it be tooth-colored fillings, same-day crowns (made in our onsite dental lab), or natural-looking dental implants – our team will restore your smile to health and beauty by leveraging the recent advancements in dental technologies.

Dental Implants
As the premium option for replacing missing teeth, dental implants not only improve the appearance of your smile, they also improve your oral and overall health. Matching your natural teeth in color, size and shape, dental implants help restore your bite force, preserve your jawbone, and improve your confidence.

Invisalign offers discretion, comfort, and freedom to enjoy your favorite foods – all while getting a perfectly aligned smile. Our dentists have years of specialized experience in using these clear aligners to create beautiful, brilliant smiles.

Zoom! Teeth Whitening
Painless, professional-grade teeth whitening gives patients a megawatt smile – in just a single visit. Safer and more effective than store-bought whitening kits, Zoom! teeth whitening can bring out the best in your smile in just about an hour.

Periodontal Disease
Gum disease has the potential to lead to serious health problems. Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment for periodontal disease are essential to maintaining good oral health – and overall health.

CEREC Crowns
CEREC crowns – also known as same-day crowns – are available at Elite Family Dental Care. Using computer assisted design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM), your permanent crown can be made while you wait, eliminating the need for multiple visits to restore a damaged tooth.

Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are included in our preventative dental care. At your bi-annual checkup, you will be screened for any warning signs. Our digital imaging technologies also allow for the identification of symptoms beneath the surface of the mouth, cheeks, and gums.

Emergency Dentistry
Emergency dental services are available for patients who experience a loose crown, knocked-out tooth, or trauma to the teeth and jaws.