TMJ Specialist

Liana Smiles

Liana Stein, DDS

Dentist located in Staten Island, NY

Ever wake up with a headache, sore jaw, tooth pain, or all of the above? If so, Liana Stein, DDS, at LianaSmiles in Staten Island, New York, can determine if you are suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and create a treatment plan for you. Call or book an appointment online to learn more about TMJ and your treatment options.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the temporal bones in your skull, almost like a hinge. When the joint becomes irritated or inflamed, it can become painful and sore and cause a wide variety of dental concerns.

When left untreated, TMJ can begin affecting your jaw movement, especially when it comes to chewing, yawning, and talking.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Most patients with TMJ first become concerned once they begin experiencing jaw pain on a regular basis. Other common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Jaw soreness
  • Joint pain
  • Facial sensitivity
  • Facial pain
  • Limitations in jaw mobility
  • Troubles chewing
  • Lockjaw

During times of stress and anxiety, the symptoms of TMJ can worsen, which may cause you to clench your teeth and further inflame the temporomandibular joint.

What causes TMJ?

Dentists don’t know exactly what causes TMJ, but there are a variety of risk factors that may lead to developing this disorder. They include:

  • Arthritis
  • Genetics
  • Jaw injury
  • A history of teeth grinding or jaw clenching
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Jaw dislocation

Dr. Stein will try to determine the cause of your TMJ before creating a personalized treatment plan, so make sure to give her as much information as possible about your genetic and medical history.

What are my treatment options?

The most common TMJ treatment to prevent further damage to the temporomandibular joint is a nighttime mouthguard. A night guard fits over your upper and lower teeth to reduce friction while you sleep. This mouthpiece prevents teeth grinding and clenching, thereby taking pressure off your joint and minimizing inflammation.

To reduce pain and relax your jaw muscles, Dr. Stein may also recommend pain relievers, such as:

Anti-inflammatory medications

Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, are recommended to reduce pain and inflammation around your jaw. If these drugs aren’t enough to minimize your pain, Dr. Stein may prescribe a stronger pain reliever.

Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants can be used in the short-term to calm your jaw muscles and reduce inflammation quickly, but they are not recommended for long-term use.

Tricyclic antidepressants

While antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are typically prescribed to treat depression, they can also help reduce jaw pain.

Call or book an appointment online with LianaSmiles today to learn more about TMJ treatment options.

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