TMJ Disorders

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TMJ Disorders in Denver, CO

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders can be a source of significant discomfort and disruption in daily life. At Aspen Dental, our team of skilled dentists, Dr. Rossow, Dr. Noce, and Dr. Neal, specializes in providing effective TMJ treatment to patients in Denver, Colorado. With our compassionate care and personalized approach, we strive to alleviate pain and restore comfort to your jaw, allowing you to enjoy a healthier and more comfortable life.

What are TMJ and TMD?

TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, refers to the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. This joint allows for essential movements such as chewing, speaking, and yawning. TMJ disorder (TMD) encompasses a range of conditions that affect the function and comfort of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Effective treatment for TMD often involves a combination of self-care practices, medication, oral appliances, and, in some cases, surgical intervention to alleviate pain and restore proper jaw function.

Understanding TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders encompass a range of problems affecting the complex jaw joint. Symptoms such as pain, clicking, or stiffness in the jaw can indicate issues with the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles. These symptoms often arise when the jaw joint and chewing muscles do not function together correctly. Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent TMJ problems from leading to more serious conditions.

Common Signs of TMJ Disorders

Do you experience any of the following symptoms?

  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Soreness or stiffness in the jaw muscles upon waking
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Worsening pain when clenching teeth or under stress
  • Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw when opening the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth, chewing, or yawning
  • Previous injuries to the neck, head, or jaws
  • Other joint-related issues, such as arthritis
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together or tooth sensitivity
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing a TMJ disorder. Seeking prompt evaluation and treatment can help address the underlying issues and improve your quality of life.

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders

At Aspen Dental, we offer a range of treatment options to address TMJ disorders and provide relief from symptoms. Our comprehensive approach may include:

Pain management techniques play a crucial role in alleviating muscle spasms and joint pain associated with TMJ disorders. These techniques may include gentle massage, heat therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which helps relax the muscles and improve blood circulation to the affected area. Additionally, physical therapy exercises focused on stretching and strengthening the jaw muscles can help reduce tension and improve jaw function over time.

Medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxants may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort and inflammation associated with TMJ disorders. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate mild to moderate pain, while anti-inflammatories such as corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation in the jaw joint.

For cases of severe inflammation or pain, we may recommend steroid injections to target inflammation directly within the joint. These injections can provide rapid relief and may be particularly beneficial for patients experiencing acute flare-ups of TMJ symptoms.

Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive procedure that we may perform in “Lock Jaw” cases where the jaw becomes stuck or limited in movement. During arthrocentesis, we use a small needle to flush the joint with sterile fluid, helping to remove debris, reduce inflammation, and restore normal joint function.

These practices may include resting the jaw by avoiding excessive chewing or speaking, applying ice and heat packs to the affected area to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain, and maintaining good posture to reduce strain on the jaw and neck muscles.

Stress management techniques can also be beneficial for patients with TMJ disorders, as stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms and lead to increased muscle tension in the jaw and surrounding areas. Techniques such as biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and cognitive-behavioral therapy can help patients learn to manage stress more effectively and reduce the impact of stress on their TMJ symptoms.

Customized oral appliances, such as splints or night guards, are commonly used to treat TMJ disorders to relieve muscle tension and protect joint surfaces. These appliances are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth and worn during sleep or throughout the day to prevent teeth grinding (bruxism), reduce muscle strain, and promote proper jaw alignment.

In cases where TMJ disorders have caused teeth alignment or function issues, additional treatments may be necessary. These may include:

  • Bite adjustment (equilibration) to correct teeth alignment
  • Orthodontic treatment with or without jaw reconstruction
  • Restorative dental work to address damaged teeth or restore proper function
  • Surgical interventions, such as arthroscopy or open joint repair, for severe cases
If you suspect you may have a TMJ disorder, don’t wait to seek help. Our experienced team at Aspen Dental is here to provide comprehensive TMJ treatment tailored to your unique needs. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward relief from TMJ-related discomfort. Let us help you reclaim comfort and functionality in your jaw so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
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