Hubbard Dental

TMJ Treatment in Pinehurst, NC

At Hubbard Dental, we understand the discomfort and severe pain that can come from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. We aim to provide effective and personalized TMJ treatment options to our patients in Pinehurst, NC, and surrounding areas. With our experienced team and state-of-the-art technology, we are committed to helping you find relief and restore your quality of life.

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition involving the joints connecting your jawbone to your skull where they experience joint dysfunction. This dysfunction could happen for various reasons and result in chronic and severe pain, limited jaw joint mobility, and disturbing popping sounds. The discomfort can further spread to the face, neck, and shoulders, turning mundane tasks like chewing, speaking, or yawning into a painful experience.

Temporomandibular disorders can occur due to different causes, ranging from an injury to the jaw, clenching or grinding of teeth, arthritis in the joint, or even stress that results in muscle tension.

What Are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

The symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:

  • Jaw joint pain
  • Chronic pain in and around the ear
  • Difficulty in chewing or severe pain while chewing
  • Jaw pain or discomfort, often described as a myofascial pain syndrome
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth, known as limited mouth syndrome
  • Difficulty chewing or a sudden, uncomfortable bite
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Headaches and neck aches
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing problems and upper shoulder pain

Types of TMJ Disorders

1. Myofascial Pain Syndrome

This is the most common type of TMJ disorder. It involves discomfort or pain in the jaw and facial muscles that control them. Myofascial symptoms can limit jaw movement and cause headaches and earaches. The chronic pain from this disorder often results from tightening or spasms of the masseter muscle, regardless of whether due to stress, dental issues, or past injuries.

2. Internal Derangement of the Joint

It involves a dislocated jaw, displaced disk, or injury to the condyle. The disk that cushions the TMJ becomes misaligned, or the joint’s ball and socket slip out of position. Joint disk displacement often results in clicking or popping and, at times, limited mouth opening.

3. Degenerative Joint Diseases

Arthritis is a classic example of a degenerative joint disease affected by TMJ. The inflammation and deterioration of the jaw joint can lead to a compromised range of motion and severe pain. Orofacial pain disorders such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, which are known to cause degenerative pain, are common in elderly patients.

The Stages of TMJ Disorders

Stage 1: Derangement

At this phase, the joint’s disk is dislocated, and despite pain or discomfort, your joint mobility still exists.

Stage 2: Dysfunction

In this stage, signs of limited control and coordination of jaw muscles show; you may encounter difficulties and severe pain when opening and closing your mouth. In addition, chronic pain might become a problem.

Stage 3: Stable

Despite the misalignment, the muscles and joints stabilize themselves, ensuring the maintenance of jaw function, though the full range of motion may be compromised.

Stage 4: Deformity

This is the worst phase where structural change occurs. Joint pain persists, and patients are likely to experience jaw dysfunction.

Who Can Treat TMJ Disorders?

Maxillofacial Surgeon

A maxillofacial surgeon specializes in treating conditions related to the jaw and facial structures. They have advanced training in surgical procedures and can perform surgeries to treat severe cases of TMJ disorders, such as joint replacement or reconstruction.

Physical Therapist

A physical therapist specializes in the treatment of pain associated with TMJ disorders. They can assess the patient’s range of motion, jaw movement, and muscle strength. Physical therapists may utilize soft tissue manipulation, exercises, and low-level laser therapy to help relieve pain and improve joint mobility.

Dentist

Dentists with training in orofacial muscle pain or temporomandibular disorders can treat TMJ disorders. They can provide conservative treatments such as occlusal splints or dental splints, which help to stabilize the jaw joint and prevent teeth grinding or clenching. They may also recommend maintaining a soft diet and providing solutions for pain relief.

TMJ Disorder Specialist

A specialist trained in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders can provide comprehensive management of these conditions. They have expertise in conservative treatment options, nonsurgical management considerations, and surgical options like joint replacement or reconstruction.

TMJ Disorder Treatment Options We Offer

1. Physical Therapy

At Hubbard Dental, physical therapy interventions can involve various techniques, such as heat and ice therapy, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and specific exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles and joints. The physical therapy options provided at Hubbard Dental can offer significant improvements over time, enhancing the quality of life by improving the range of motion and easing the associated pain and discomfort.

2. Conservative Therapy

Often the first line of intervention at Hubbard Dental, our conservative treatment methods emphasize non-invasive, reversible techniques. These can include modifications to daily routines, such as incorporating breaks to rest the jaw during the day, avoiding habits that strain the jaw, like chewing gum, opting for a soft diet, utilizing heat or cold packs, and practicing stress-reduction techniques.

3. Mandibular Devices

Here at Hubbard Dental, we use dental splints or occlusal splints for this process. These custom-made devices are crafted with precision to fit perfectly over the teeth. The primary objective of dental splints is to help reposition the jaw – leading to improved function and substantial relief from discomfort and pain in patients experiencing TMJ disorders.

4. Joint Injections

While effective, this treatment should only be offered when required, as frequent injections may induce other side effects. Joint injections can be carried out on an outpatient basis, making it feasible for those working or studying.

5. Surgical Options

Surgical options vary from minimally invasive arthroscopy to more complex procedures like joint replacement. The decision to proceed with the surgery is serious, made after considering the severity of symptoms, the patient’s general health, their response to other treatments, and extensive discussions around expected outcomes and potential complications.

6. Low-Level Laser Therapy

This modern therapy is guided by clinical findings and demonstrates promise in managing TMJ disorders as one of the effective interventions for pain. With no known side effects and its convenience as a non-invasive procedure, low-level laser therapy is a hassle-free method to increase blood circulation, reduce swelling, provide pain relief, and stimulate recovery.

7. Medications

We aim to reduce the pain for patients suffering from TMJ disorders. We may recommend nonprescription pain relievers to manage joint pain and inflammation associated with temporomandibular joint disorders. In some cases, we may prescribe muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety medications to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.

How We Diagnose TMJ Disorders

  • Clinical Evaluation. Our experienced TMJ dentist will perform a comprehensive clinical evaluation, which includes a detailed examination of your jaw joint, muscles, and bite. Additionally, we collaborate with professionals specializing in treating TMJ, such as maxillofacial surgeons or orthodontists, to ensure a collaborative approach to your diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Imaging. In some cases, we recommend imaging tests such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the structures of your jaw and rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. 
  • Bite Analysis. We may utilize advanced technologies such as computerized bite analysis to assess the alignment of your teeth and how they come together when you close your jaw. This helps us identify any problems with your bite that may contribute to TMJ disorder.
  • Functional Assessment. We will evaluate your jaw movement and range of motion to determine any limitations or irregularities that may be indicative of TMJ disorder.

Schedule Your TMJ Treatment Consultation at Hubbard Dental Today

Don’t let TMJ disorder control your life. If you’re searching for a ‘TMJ specialist near me,’ contact Hubbard Dental for effective and personalized TMJ treatment in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Whether it’s persistent symptoms of TMJ disorder causing discomfort or the ordeal of living every day with chronic and acute pain, you no longer have to suffer in silence.

At Hubbard Dental, we specialize in individualized treatment of jaw pain, offering nonsurgical management considerations and surgical interventions depending on the patient’s unique condition.  Schedule an appointment with our TMJ dentist now and embark on a journey towards a pain-free life.