TMJ Questions

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What is TMJ?

Cedar Rapids TMJ | Exceptional DentistryTMJ and TMD both stand for temporomandibular joint disorder, a painful misalignment of the jaw joints. Found on both sides of your jaw, this joint is like a hinge that allows your mouth to open and close. TMJ sufferers report a variety of symptoms ranging from head and neck pain and teeth grinding or clenching to popping sounds in the jaw area.

A Neuromuscular dentist can evaluate your condition and establish the most relaxed position for your jaw. When used in combination with computerized diagnostic technology, painful TMJ symptoms can be reduced or eliminated.

What causes TMJ?

Malocclusion, or a misaligned bite, is most often the cause of TMJ. In malocclusion, the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly. This throws the bite out of alignment and places undue stress on the jaw joints.

Constant jaw clenching or teeth grinding can also put extreme stress on the jaw joints. Since this habit often occurs during sleep, you may not know you are stressing your jaw joints, but may notice your jaw feels sore. Even improper chewing may put excessive stress on the jaw joint, resulting in clicking or popping sounds, chronic headaches, sinus problems and hearing loss. TMJ dysfunction may also be caused by an impact to the side of the head.

Why is TMJ difficult to diagnose?

It is not difficult to diagnose if you have the proper training. Many dental professionals have not received training in neuromuscular dentistry. General dentists may not see any connection between worn, misaligned or broken teeth and symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, earaches, and shoulder pain. Or they may recognize the TMJ symptoms, but do not have the experience or training to treat TMJ.

Neuromuscular dentists like Dr. Ted Murray understand the varied causes of TMJ. Dr. Murray has received in-depth training from the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), the premier school for neuromuscular dentistry. He has invested in the appropriate technology to diagnose and treat TMJ.

Will neuromuscular dentistry bring permanent pain relief?

When you are in pain, all you want is to make the pain go away. The goal of neuromuscular dentistry is to identify the cause of your symptoms and devise a treatment plan to bring permanent relief. At Exceptional Dentistry, we work with you to determine if TMJ is causing your symptoms, and if Dr. Murray diagnoses TMJ, you are halfway there.

Treatment is different for each person. We will determine whether a customized oral appliance is a good option for you, or certain specific dental work, and we will coordinate the best treatment elements to alleviate your pain for the long term.

Why is a neuromuscular dentist my best choice to treat TMJ symptoms?

TMJ is a relatively common cause of severe headaches, jaw pain, neck stiffness and other symptoms. A highly trained neuromuscular dentist has special expertise in treating neuromuscular issues.

Dr. Murray can recognize the signs and symptoms of TMJ and diagnose the root cause of your problems. Effective treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis. Once you have the accurate diagnosis, treatment methods will be targeted to the specific cause(s) of your misaligned jaw joints, and you will become pain-free.

If you think TMJ may be causing your pain, please contact Exceptional Dentistry Dubuque by completing our online form or calling 563-556-2711 today. Dr. Murray and his team serve the Cedar Rapids, and Davenport, Iowa, areas, as well as Galena, Illinois.