TMJ Treatment

S. Clarke Woodruff, DMD -  - Dentist

S. Clarke Woodruff, DMD

Dentist located in Hellertown, PA

Severe headaches, jaw pain, grinding teeth, and clicking or popping in the jaw joint can all be the signs of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) and can significantly interfere with daily activities. Dr. Woodruff and his professional team at the S. Clarke Woodruff, DMD office in Hellertown, Pennsylvania are highly trained in the treatment of TMD. The team begins by effectively relieving the pain first and then doing the necessary tests to know the cause of TMD. Call or click to fix an appointment today.

TMJ Treatment Q & A

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint that connects the jaw to the base of the skull. It is located in front of the ear and is plays a crucial role in the smooth movements and functioning of the lower jaw.

What are some of the causes of TMD?

The most common cause of TMD is a misalignment of teeth, often referred to as a “bad bite.” The other reasons include:

  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding the teeth
  • Trauma to the jaw area
  • Temporomandibular joint trauma
  • Arthritis

TMD is a chronic degenerative condition that is best managed immediately upon diagnosis.

How do I know I have TMD?

TMD has many signs and symptoms, but one or more of these symptoms are common to other diseases. Dr. Woodruff can help make a proper diagnosis. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the face, ear, or jaw area
  • Headaches often mimicking migraines
  • Jaw that "gets stuck" locked or goes out of place
  • A clicking or popping sound heard on opening or closing the mouth
  • Swelling of the face

How is TMD treated?

Successful treatment of TMD involves an accurate diagnosis of its cause. Dr. Woodruff begins with history, a thorough examination of the jaw area, your bite, and X-ray reports.

Once he makes an accurate diagnosis, different treatments may considerably reduce your symptoms. Dr. Woodruff may recommend one or more of the following:

Medications

Medications help relax the muscle spasm and relieve pain. They include muscle relaxants, aspirin, other over-the-counter pain-relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Night guard

Tooth grinding is a common symptom that eventually erodes the tooth and leads to severe dental problems. Dr. Woodruff fits you with a specially molded night guard to reduce grinding and relieve the discomfort.

Realignment

Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed. Dr. Woodruff may adjust your natural teeth or do some restorations.

Surgery

Surgery is necessary when all other conservative treatments fail to bring any relief, or there is evidence of joint damage. Surgery involves repair of damaged tissue by a direct surgical approach or by the least invasive technique through a tiny incision called arthroscopy. Dr. Woodruff would work closely with an experienced oral surgeon to complete this treatment.

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, our office will work in coordination with a sleep center and your physicians to determine the right approach for your needs. Most often, you may be a candidate for a sleep study, or you may need a dental appliance or CPAP device.

What can I do to keep my TMJ in good health?

Good preventive health habits can help you keep your TMJ in good shape. Proper brushing and regular visits to your dentist will pick up problems at an early stage. If you suspect you have the symptoms of TMD, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Woodruff today.