As part of our whole-health focus, we offer neuromuscular dentistry — a branch of dentistry that treats your jaw joints and its muscles, nerves and ligaments. We can evaluate your bite and address any chronic pain — such as migraine headaches — caused temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). One common treatment is a neuromuscular orthotic (mouthguard) designed to restore the balance between your teeth, muscles and joints.

In Winston-Salem, TMJ is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors, so if you have headaches, jaw pain, ear symptoms, and other problems that your doctor can’t explain or treat, you might be suffering from TMJ. Please call 336-765-2921 or email Robinson Dental Studio today for an appointment with our dentist to learn more.

TMJ Symptoms

Portrait of young woman with toothacheOne of the things that causes doctors to misdiagnose TMJ is that it has a number of symptoms that are both nonspecific and may not seem to be related. Among the symptoms that TMJ sufferers commonly report are:

  • Jaw pain
  • Popping, clicking, or irregular motion of the jaw
  • Face pain
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Cracked or worn teeth
  • Neck pain
  • Earaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing or roaring in the ears)
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers

Some people develop just one or two symptoms, while others develop many or all of them. Symptoms may be continuous or they may come and go depending on how active your jaw is.

TMJ Treatment Options

TMJ treatment can take many forms, depending on the severity of your condition.

When symptoms first appear, you can try treating them at home. This involves many of the standard treatments you might use for any other minor muscle or joint pain. You can take over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, but make sure you don’t exceed the limits on the label. Apply heat for muscle soreness and cold for inflammation. Try resting your jaw by eating soft food and avoiding long periods of talking.

If symptoms persist for a week or more, it’s time to talk to a doctor or a dentist. Neuromuscular dentists will use precise, scientific measurements to diagnose your TMJ. Dr. Andrea Robinson will measure the activity of your muscles to determine whether they are carrying excess tension and find a best rest position for your jaw. Dr. Robinson will listen to your jaw joint and track its precise motions to detect irregularities in your jaw joint function. She will also use a kind of electric massage, called TENS, to help relax your jaw muscles. If your TMJ is due just to muscle tension, TENS may be the only treatment you need.

If you need help holding your jaw in a relaxed position, we may recommend the use of an orthotic, basically a mouthguard, to hold your jaw in place. You may have to wear it all day, but sometimes wearing your orthotic at night is adequate.

Sometimes we might also recommend dental treatments either orthodontics or building up worn teeth with dental crowns that can help you get the same results as your orthotic, but without the orthotic itself.

Finally, in rare cases, surgery may be the only option for relieving your symptoms.

To learn which TMJ treatment in Winston-Salem is right for you, please contact Robinson Dental Studio.