The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the spot where your jaw connects to your skull to allow you to open and close your jaw easily. Sometimes the joint is injured or damaged, leading to a painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). If you are experiencing pain or hearing noises when you move your jaw, schedule a consultation with dentist Dr. Kathy Jacobsen to establish if you have TMD. At her practice, Contemporary Dentistry in Gilbert, AZ, Dr. Jacobsen uses advanced equipment to diagnose and treat your TMD to relieve painful symptoms. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, but some options include an oral appliance (mouth or night guard), bite adjustment, dental restorations, and more.
TMD may be caused by a single injury to the jaw, chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching, or misalignment of the teeth (dental malocclusion). Medical conditions that may cause TMD include arthritis or a tumor in the TMJ. In some cases, the cause of TMD is unclear, but if you are experiencing symptoms, Dr. Jacobsen can still diagnose and treat your jaw. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD are pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joint, spasms in your facial muscles, feeling like your jaw is stiff or stuck, and headaches that start in front of your ears. Another symptom that you can hear is clicking, cracking, or popping whenever you move your jaw.
What To Expect
To help diagnose TMD, Dr. Jacobsen will carefully listen to your concerns and symptoms before performing a physical examination. During the exam, she will assess the movement of your jaw, look for signs of misalignment, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching, and feel the jaw and surrounding area for tenderness and inflammation. Dr. Jacobsen may want to have digital x-rays of your lower face or a bite analysis to look for underlying causes that may determine your treatment method. Based on the exam, she will go over your treatment options that may include a dental appliance, orthodontics, or dental restorations (crowns, bridges, dentures).
In addition to procedures to solve the underlying cause of your TMD, Dr. Jacobsen can recommend other ways to relieve pain and other symptoms at home. This includes eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Dr. Jacobsen can also give you exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, plus prescriptions to relax your jaw muscles, as well as medications to relieve pain, anxiety, or inflammation.
Continue to schedule follow-up visits so Dr. Jacobsen can check the progress of your TMJ therapy. If the treatment is not working or not helping you enough, she may consider a different approach. Once your TMD is treated, you should continue to schedule annual dental exams at Contemporary Dentistry to keep your mouth healthy.
Dental insurance coverage for TMJ pain diagnosis and TMD treatments will vary, so we will contact your carrier to calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Whether you have dental insurance or not, Dr. Jacobsen will go over cost estimates when discussing treatment options. To help make all treatments affordable, our office accepts many payment methods and we can help you find low-interest medical financing through our Smiles Club memberships.
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Advanced TMD Treatments
Pain in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) makes it difficult to chew, speak, and generally enjoy your life. Since there are many possible causes, symptoms, and solutions for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), schedule a consultation with Dr. Kathy Jacobsen at her office in Gilbert, AZ. She will give you a thorough examination before making a diagnosis and discussing treatment options. Contact the team at Contemporary Dentistry to get more information and schedule your appointment.