Headaches, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, teeth grinding: these are just a few of the common signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Dr. Jason Baldwin can evaluate the condition and function of your bite to determine where there is dysfunction or damage and works with patients on an individual basis to address symptoms of a bite problem.
The goal of your diagnosis and treatment is to identify the underlying cause of your bite disorder, not just address symptoms. This is an important difference in our comprehensive approach and is the key to helping you enjoy a lasting comfortable bite.
TMJ and related disorders are commonly misdiagnosed (and under-diagnosed), leading to complex dental problems that recur because the underlying occlusal disease is not properly treated. Dr. Baldwin takes a comprehensive approach to all of your dental care and evaluates the function of your bite during routine exams or before any dental treatment. This ensures that any dentistry you receive in our office will support both a functional bite and lasting dental health.
Common Signs of TMJ Disorders
There are many symptoms of a bite disorder that can go undiagnosed because patients don’t realize the connection between their pain or discomfort and their oral health. Dr. Baldwin may notice the common signs of a bite problem during routine dental exams, such as worn or damaged teeth. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, discuss them with Dr. Baldwin at an upcoming dental visit or make an appointment.
Proper diagnosis and treatment can restore your smile- and daily quality of life.
- Headaches, sinus pain
- Jaw and/or neck pain
- Ear pain, stuffiness, or hearing loss
- Difficulty opening, closing the jaw
- Clicking or popping jaw
- Locked jaw
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or fingers
Diagnosing TMJ: What to Expect
In addition to an exam and diagnostic x-rays, Dr. Baldwin uses a digital scanning device to measure the force of your bite on each individual tooth. T-Scan® is a handheld tool that will provide accurate, digital information when you bite down on it, enabling Dr. Baldwin to pinpoint where there are imbalances that need to be addressed.
Once your bite is analyzed, we will recommend the appropriate treatment for your unique needs. We will always advocate the most conservative options to improve your dental health and will discuss all possible solutions for your consideration.
TMJ Treatment Options in Truckee, CA
The goal of your treatment for a TMJ disorder is to relieve any pain or discomfort you are experiencing and to restore a functional, comfortable smile.
Treatment options for TMJ disorders can include:
- Mouthguard or splint therapy: a custom mouth guard or dental splint is often a conservative first step, used early in treatment, and not intended as a long-term solution. A dental split can be helpful to help identify a comfortable and stable bite position for further correction with restorative dentistry.
- Bite correction: bite correction. also known as occlusal equilibration, is designed to bring the teeth into proper contact through restorative dental treatments. This allows the jaw to open and close in its proper position and eliminates stress on the jaw joints (TMJ).
- Orthodontics: if crooked or misaligned teeth are the cause of your bite problem, Dr. Baldwin may recommend orthodontics to restore balance to the bite. We offer invisible braces for straightening your teeth and addressing TMJ-related concerns.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
How quickly can TMJ be cured?
TMJ disorder is a unique problem that can last a lifetime and cause debilitating problems for patients. On the other hand, mild TMJ disorder symptoms can go away on their own without dental treatment. Since this issue is very unique to the individual, there is no way of estimating when and how fast your TMJ issues will be resolved. The best thing to do is seek a professional diagnosis from your trusted TMJ dentist.
Can I treat TMJ at home?
Yes. Patients with mild TMJ symptoms can treat them at home without having to visit the dentist. Exercise and stress-reducing meditation and activities can greatly reduce your jaw clenching and teeth grinding at night. You may even notice that your TMJ issue has gone away after a couple of days. Patients with more severe issues and symptoms will still need dental treatment.
Can sleeping on your side cause TMJ?
Sleeping on your side and on your stomach can increase the symptoms of TMJ disorders. These sleeping positions put added stress on your jaw and airway. The best sleeping position for a patient with jaw pain and TMJ symptoms is sleeping on your back.
Can TMJ affect your ears?
Yes, because the TMJ is near the ears, you can experience ear pain. Swelling in the TMJ can affect the ears, leading to tinnitus, clogged ears, and even hearing loss.
Does poor posture affect TMJ disorders?
Yes, a forward head posture can worsen TMJ. A forward head posture occurs when your neck and head are tilted forward. If your head is not in line with your spine, you can increase strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. Improper head alignment can affect the alignment of your jaw muscles and can increase TMJ pain and discomfort. Working on good posture can help minimize TMJ pain.
What triggers TMJ?
There are multiple common triggers for TMJ:
- Poor posture
- Eating hard, crunchy, and chewy foods
- Teeth clenching and grinding
Knowing what triggers TMJ and the best techniques to reverse these triggers can minimize your symptoms.
Schedule a Dental Exam & Consultation
Are you looking for a dentist office that offers TMJ treatment in Lake Tahoe, CA, and Truckee, CA? Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Baldwin in our Truckee dentist office if you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder. He will perform a thorough exam and discuss your medical history to identify the underlying cause in order to recommend appropriate, lasting treatment. To schedule your appointment, contact our office at (530) 206-0392 or use our online request form and we will contact you shortly.