Treatment for Jaw Clicking, Locking, and Pain
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, connects the jaw to the skull. It is located just in front of your ears on either side of your jaw. This hard-working joint allows you to bite, chew, speak, and have full mobility of your jaw. When this jaw is not working properly, it can affect the way you eat and speak, as well as cause jaw clicking and pain. TMJ disorders require delicate care of this important joint, and our oral surgeons are trained to evaluate the joint, diagnose the problem, and create a custom treatment plan for the issue.
If you have pain in the jaw joints or suspect a TMJ disorder, contact our board-certified oral surgeons in New Brunswick, East Brunswick, or Middlesex, NJ, to schedule an appointment. Dr. Philip Engel, Dr. Richard Stern, Dr. Constantine Simos, Dr. Michael Stern, Dr. Amy Tanchyk, and Dr. Rohan Prabhu look forward to helping you relieve pain and achieve proper jaw function.
What Causes TMJ Problems?
The exact cause of TMJ disorders is not entirely known. Some are caused by jaw growth problems, overuse or straining of the jaw muscles, arthritis, genetics, or as a result of facial trauma. If TMJ issues are not addressed promptly, the muscles around the jaw and the joint can come out of alignment. The result can make it difficult for patients to use their jaw comfortably or relax facial muscles.
Other factors can contribute to TMJ disorders developing, such as a history of arthritis. Because there are many possible causes of a TMJ disorder, treatment varies depending on the severity and reason for the condition. At Oral Surgery Group, your oral surgeon will take your full condition and health history into account when helping you find a solution.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
If you experience some or all of the following symptoms, you may suffer from a TMJ disorder:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Waking up with sore or stiff jaw muscles
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Stress that leads to more clenching and pain
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when opening or closing the mouth
- Issues with alignment of teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Problems opening the mouth wide to eat or yawn
Not all TMJ issues cause pain or immobility. If your jaw clicks or pops when opening and closing your mouth, but does not cause pain, you likely will not need treatment for a TMJ disorder. However, an evaluation is recommended to rule out bite misalignment, skeletal deformities, and other conditions.
Treatment for TMJ Disorders in New Brunswick, East Brunswick, and Middlesex, NJ
Prior to treatment, you will meet with one of our oral surgeons for an oral examination. We will take 3D scans of your head to view the bones and soft tissues of the temporomandibular joint. We will try to treat the condition nonsurgically, as these methods have proven effective for many people with TMJ problems. If these methods fail, we may consider surgical treatments. Our surgeons offer a variety of anesthesia options for any type of surgical procedure to ensure your total comfort.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Resting the jaw and avoiding clenching
- Keeping the teeth apart when not in use
- Improving posture and sitting up straight
- Medications to control pain and reduce inflammation
- Wearing a night guard during sleep to prevent teeth grinding
- Physical therapy and jaw exercises
Surgical treatment options include:
- Jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, to realign the jaws
- Arthrocentesis to irrigate the joint
- Injections, such as BOTOX® and corticosteroids
- TMJ arthroscopy, a less invasive alternative to open-joint surgery
- Open-joint surgery to repair or replace the joint
Your surgeon will review your condition to help find a treatment plan that works for you. To find out how we can eliminate your jaw joint pain and achieve full mobility of your jaw, contact Oral Surgery Group today. We have offices in New Brunswick, East Brunswick, and Middlesex, NJ, and look forward to improving your oral health and function.
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Start your journey to better oral health and a more confident smile at Oral Surgery Group. Our compassionate team of specialists will walk you through every step, answer your questions, and make you feel like a part of our family. Learn more about us or schedule an appointment.