Dr. Jason Petkevis is a restorative dentist in Chester Springs near you. He specializes in providing restorative treatment for TMJ disorders, and many other advanced conditions. Few clinicians are trained to properly identify, diagnose and treat TMD. Dr. Petkevis has devoted a significant portion of his post-graduate training towards bite problems and TMJ-related issues.
About TMJ Disorders and Symptoms
TMJ is short for Temporomandibular Joint, the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. TMJ disorder is a catch-all term for a wide variety of potential issues affecting the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder
There is no single cause for TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:
- Trauma to the head, neck, or face
- Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
Common TMJ Symptoms
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly between patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches
The Objective of TMJ Treatment
Our goal is to treat TMJ by gently and naturally bringing the head, neck, jaw, and bite into proper alignment.
Dr. Petkevis will start with a comprehensive evaluation to look for the signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Using advanced diagnostic technology, Dr. Petkevis will determine the source of instability and create a customized treatment plan to bring the teeth and bite into proper alignment.
A TMJ mouthguard is a removable oral appliance that helps keep your teeth and jaw properly positioned. Usually worn during sleep, an oral appliance may also prevent teeth grinding or clenching. These symptoms can lead to tooth wear and contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. We are well-equipped to address all symptoms and effects of this disorder.
TMJ treatment through splints, mouthguards, and night guards can help alleviate the most common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction and prevent damage to the teeth and gums.
Bite Correction Procedures
Occlusal equilibration, better known as bite correction or TMJ correction, is the process of adjusting the alignment of the teeth for optimal fit. The teeth should line up to make even contact, creating a low-stress bite.
Over 95% of TMJ dysfunction (TMD) and TMJ pain are caused by improper occlusion. Bite correction can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMD, such as a sore jaw, headaches, teeth clenching, and more.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
What is the best TMJ treatment?
The best treatment for any TMJ disorder is the one that will work best for you and your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to TMJ issues. The first thing Dr. Petkevis will do is try to locate the source of your pain. This will help narrow down which treatment you will need. He may recommend medication or relaxation techniques in addition to bite correction or a night guard to help relieve your TMJ pain and symptoms.
How long will it take the mouthguard to help my TMJ?
You should experience some relief the first night you wear it! After about a month, you should experience a major reduction in pain. However, it may take longer or shorter for you to feel relief, depending on the cause of your TMJ problems. For the best and quickest results, please wear your mouthguard as instructed by Dr. Petkevis.
How comfortable is the TMJ mouthguard?
While it seems wearing something in your mouth may cause issues with sleep, most people report no issues. The relief you feel greatly outweighs the minor discomfort you will initially experience. After a few weeks of continuous wear, you will adjust to the night guard and should not notice it.
What can cause TMJ flare-ups?
Multiple factors can increase TMJ pain and symptoms of TMJ disorders:
- Eating hard or crunchy foods
- Poor posture
- Teeth clenching and grinding
Be aware of these factors when you experience signs of TMJ so you can address your symptoms immediately.
Can you heal your TMJ?
While TMJ disorders can be permanent issues, it is possible to heal your TMJ or temporomandibular joints. Corrective therapies, including wearing a nightguard, resting your jaw, physical therapy sessions, and routine exercises, can minimize pain and inflammation surrounding your joints.
How can I relax my jaw?
Applying a heating pack to your jaw will increase blood flow, relaxing the joints and muscles. Use heat on your jaw in 15-minute increments. You can also perform a common exercise daily to relax your jaw. Place the tip of your tongue in the middle of the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. Slowly and gently open your mouth for about five seconds and close your mouth to release tension in your jaw.
Request a TMJ Disorder Evaluation Today
Do you have questions about TMJ and how our dentist near you in Chester Springs, PA, can help? Call Dental Distinction today to find out more or to schedule a TMJ evaluation.