Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Treatment in Waco, TX
You’ve probably heard the acronym TMJ, but what does it stand for? TMJ is an abbreviation used to refer to the temporomandibular joint, the joint that allows your jaw to open and close.
TMJ disorders, also called TMD, are conditions that affect the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles, causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty with jaw movement. TMJ disorders can have various causes, including jaw misalignment, teeth grinding (bruxism), stress, arthritis, or trauma.
The following videos by Dr. Cutbirth educate about TMJ, the symptoms, and how he treats it:
- TMJ Treatment Part 1 of 4
- TMJ Treatment Part 2 of 4
- TMJ Treatment Part 3 of 4
- TMJ Treatment Part 4 of 4
We do accept insurance, but unfortunately, insurance does not cover TMJ treatment. Medical insurance may cover the MRI that is required for TMJ treatment.
Why See a Dentist for TMJ Pain?
Dr. Cutbirth is well-equipped to evaluate and diagnose TMJ disorders due to his expertise in the anatomy and function of the jaw.
During a dental examination, Dr. Cutbirth will assess your jaw joints, muscles, and teeth. He will usually perform a comprehensive evaluation as part of our “comprehensive dentistry” approach; this can include taking x-rays, conducting bite analyses, and examining your dental and medical history.
In some cases, additional diagnostic tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans, may be necessary to provide a more detailed view of the TMJ. At Steven Cutbirth, DDS, we will help you get to the root of your pain.
Symptoms of TMJ
Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Jaw pain
- Worn-down tooth enamel
- Jaw clicking
- Jaw locking
- Tenderness in the jaw muscle
- Difficulty chewing
TMJ headaches, along with popping and/or clicking of the jaw, are one of the most common symptoms of TMD, or TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing TMJ headaches, migraines, or facial pain, visit Waco TMJ doctor, Steven Cutbirth, DDS, for a TMJ analysis.
How Does TMD Cause Headaches?
The temporomandibular joints connect the jaw to the skull. When these joints undergo stress, TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) can develop along with painful headaches.
“I’ve been with Dr. Cutbirth for 11 years and am so pleased with his care! He’s thorough & his staff is amazing! He helped tremendously with my TMJ issues early on as well!”
When the joint does not function properly, the muscles of the jaw become stressed. This strain creates tension that radiates through the skull and manifests itself in headaches, migraines, or popping in the jaw.
Recognizing the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- Pain or soreness in the jaw, especially in the morning or afternoon
- Stiffness or pain in the jaw while yawning, biting, or chewing
- Earache that extends into the face
- Soreness or tenderness in the area in front of the ear
- A grinding or popping noise when opening your mouth
- Teeth that are sensitive
- Neck pain and headaches on the side of the head
- A burning feeling in the tongue or mouth
- Teeth grinding
- Locking of the jaw when it’s open or closed, or a limited range of motion in the jaw
TMJ Disorder Treatment Options
As is always the case with any dental or medical condition, the first step in treatment is to receive a proper diagnosis. Dr. Cutbirth will review your complete medical history, perform a clinical exam, and take x-rays in order to confirm if you have some form of TMJ disorder.
After a diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Cutbirth may recommend one or any combination of the following TMJ treatment methods:
- Take pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, or muscle relaxants
- Restricting your diet to soft foods for a period of time
- Avoid chewing gum as much as possible
- Apply either ice or moist heat to the joint
- Practice relaxation techniques to help relax the joint
- Perform stress management exercises
- Utilize bite plates to reduce teeth grinding and reposition the jaw
- Occlusal equilibration, which means adjusting the bite
- Replacing dental restorations that are preventing the jaws from aligning properly
In situations where the TMJ disorder is caused by dental factors, Dr. Cutbirth can directly address those issues. For example, if malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth) is contributing to the TMJ disorder, orthodontic treatment or dental restorations may be recommended to improve the bite and alleviate stress on the TMJ.
Regular dental checkups allow us to monitor your oral health and identify any early signs of TMJ disorders, enabling prompt intervention and preventing the condition from worsening.
Are Your Headaches Caused By a TMJ Disorder?
Many individuals who suffer from head pain have no idea that TMD might be the cause. TMJ pain relief therapy can be pleasantly simple and effective at our practice in Waco, TX.
To discover TMJ headache relief, call our office today!