TMJ Treatment in Melrose

Pointing to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) on a model school

Nowak Family Dental provides TMJ treatment in Melrose, MA. Call 781-662-9119 to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

We all have two temporomandibular joints—one on each side of our face to connect the jawbone to the skull. These joints, often referred to as TMJ for short, act as sliding hinges whenever we open or close our mouths. When these joints begin to cause pain, it’s called TMJ disorder or TMD.

TMJ disorder can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. This is because TMJ disorder can have a few different causes and treatment is different for each cause. It’s important to see a dentist who specializes in TMJ pain in order to determine the underlying cause of your TMD.

Types of TMJ Pain

Most TMJ pain falls into one of the following categories:

  • Myofascial Pain – This is pain in the muscles that control the joints, rather than pain in the joints themselves. Muscle tension from stress and teeth grinding is a common cause of this type of TMJ pain.
  • Internal Derangement of the Joint – This type of TMJ pain is often caused by injury, including displaced discs, dislocated jaws, or injury to the condyle. 
  • Arthritis – Just as arthritis attacks the knees and other joints in the body, it can attack the TMJ as well.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Headaches
  • Soreness in the face, particularly around the cheeks and jaw
  • Pain or feelings of fullness in or around the ears
  • Tightness in the jaw
  • Popping and clicking sounds when eating or opening the mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty chewing

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Disorder

How do you fix TMJ?

Determining the best TMJ treatment for you means first diagnosing the underlying cause of your TMJ pain. Treating TMJ pain caused by arthritis is very different from how we might treat TMJ pain caused by teeth grinding. Some of the most common solutions we use include stabilization splints (also known as night guards), anti-inflammatory medications, and Botox injections. We also recommend eating a diet of soft foods and using ice packs at home during TMJ pain flare-ups.

Can TMJ go away on its own?

Yes, sometimes TMJ pain is temporary and resolves on its own. In other patients, it comes and goes, particularly in times of stress. If your TMJ pain is persistent and impacting your quality of life and comfort, it’s important to get treatment.

How can I fix my TMJ without surgery?

Surgery for TMJ is only used as a last resort—there are many treatment options that can be tried before surgery, particularly when treatment starts early before there is permanent damage to the joints. Stabilization splints and Botox injections are two less invasive treatment options that provide lasting relief.

Do night guards really work?

Yes, night guards or stabilization splints are an effective treatment option for many patients, particularly those with myofascial pain. By physically preventing teeth grinding and jaw clenching, the jaw muscles relax and pain is relieved.

Does stress make TMJ worse?

Yes, stress and TMJ pain are closely linked. Stress causes muscle tension in many people; this muscle tension can lead to pain and teeth grinding.

Call 781-662-9119 to schedule your appointment.