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The Causes and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder, (also called TMD), can cause a variety of symptoms, including jaw inflammation, joint stiffness, and jaw pain. During your exam at Brooklyn Heights Dental, Dr. Eugene D. Stanislaus or Dr. Lisa Reid will determine whether you suffer from TMJ disorder and discuss possible causes before recommending appropriate care. TMJ disorder treatment at our Brooklyn Heights, NY, practice may include physical therapy, medication, dental appliances, or surgery. Our dentists always begin with the most conservative option, and they will provide ongoing care, adjusting your treatment plan as needed to achieve lasting relief.

What Leads to TMJ Disorder?

There are a number of factors that may contribute to the development of TMJ disorder. Possible causes include:

  • Slipped disc: If the soft, cushioning disc inside your joint slips out of place, your jaw will grind together painfully every time you open or close your mouth.
  • Arthritis: Similarly, if your cartilage starts to wear away, it will make your joints rub together. The friction can further damage the TMJ and lead to muscle inflammation.
  • Facial injury: A blow to the face can cause structural damage to the joint, or cause the disc to slip out of place.
  • Bruxism: Chronic teeth grinding and clenching can place tremendous strain on your jaw, inflaming surrounding muscles.
  • Orthodontic issues and missing teeth: If you have crooked teeth or gaps in your smile, it may lead to an imbalanced bite that places pressure on your jaw joints.
  • Whiplash: Whiplash can alter your spinal alignment. In turn, this will change how you hold your head, and it could compress your jaw joints.
  • Hormones: Many believe that female hormonal changes can raise your risk of TMJ disorder, although scientists continue to investigate the connection.

In some cases, the cause of TMD is unknown.

Image of TMJ disorder symptoms
TMJ disorder can cause a host of painful symptoms.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Just as there are many causes of TMD, there are also a number of possible symptoms. Signs of TMJ disorder can include:

  • Facial pain
  • Discomfort when you open or close your mouth
  • Chronic headaches
  • Jaw stiffness
  • A grinding sensation when you open or close your mouth
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus
  • A clicking noise when you open or close your mouth
  • Neck and shoulder pain

What to Do If You Are Suffering from TMJ Disorder

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ disorder, Dr. Stanislaus or Dr. Reid will first conduct a comprehensive exam. Taking x-rays and other images of your jaw, your doctor can often uncover the root cause of TMD. Then he or she can recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Our dentists always begin with the most conservative option, and they will provide ongoing care, adjusting your treatment plan as needed to achieve lasting relief.

We will always begin with the simplest and least invasive option. Jaw strengthening exercises and other types of physical therapy are often effective. We may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications. Oral appliances are one of the most common and effective treatments for TMJ. These devices will realign your jaw to reduce pressure on the joints. If these conservative treatments are not successful, we also offer state-of-the-art TMJ surgery.

Contact Us for a Consultation

To learn more about the causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact Brooklyn Heights Dental today. We will work together to formulate an effective treatment plan to eliminate your TMJ pain.

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"I've been very happy with my experiences at Dr. Stanislaus's office, and highly recommend him to anyone in the New York City area. He and his staff go above and beyond to do the best job possible."

-R.B. (Patient)


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44 Court St
8th Flr, Ste 808
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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