TMJ Specialist

Carnegie Hill Dental Group

General Dentistry, Orthodontics & Cosmetic Dentistry located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

If you have unexplained tooth and jaw pain, you may be experiencing the effects of a common jaw disorder caused by a problem with your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, the sliding hinge that connects the sides of your jawbone to your skull. As seasoned oral health experts, the team of general dentists at Carnegie Hill Dental Group in New York City has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders and their related complications, including bruxism. To learn more, call their Upper East Side office or book an appointment online today.

TMJ Q & A

What are TMJ disorders?

When the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull is healthy and in perfect working order, jaw movement is smooth and pain-free.

TMJ disorders are often the result of damage to either the cartilage that cushions the joint from the jawbone or damage to the small, shock-absorbing disc that sits between the joint and the bone and keeps joint movement fluid. This kind of damage may be caused by:

  • Chronic teeth grinding or clenching
  • Misaligned teeth or jaws
  • Arthritis-related degeneration
  • Age-related disc erosion
  • Joint damage caused by an impact
  • Forceful movement of a disc

You’re more prone to developing a problem with your TMJ if you have arthritis or if your jaw has ever been injured or suffered any type of trauma.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?

Although most people with TMJ disorders experience some degree of jaw pain and discomfort — which may be accompanied by acute pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints — the disorder can give rise to a wide range of symptoms depending on its underlying cause.

Common signs of TMJ disorders include:

  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Tired or noticeably tight jaw muscles
  • Jaw, neck, or face tenderness
  • Pain around one or both ears
  • Audible teeth grinding during sleep

If the condition is exceptionally severe or advanced, you may experience more intense symptoms, including limited jaw movement (lockjaw), an audible and often painful clicking sensation when you open or close your mouth, or even an altered bite alignment.

How is a TMJ disorder treated?

With any TMJ disorder, an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward receiving proper care, alleviating pain, and protecting your long-term oral health.

If Dr. Vohra or Dr. Mohamed suspect you have a TMJ disorder, they ask you about any symptoms, examine your jaw for signs of abnormal joint erosion and muscle tenderness, and check your teeth for signs of bruxism, or involuntary grinding.

If grinding or clenching your teeth happens to be a factor in your jaw disorder, they prescribe a custom oral appliance, or mouthguard, for you to wear when you sleep.

Although conventional TMJ treatment typically incorporates medications like over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants to take the edge off persistent discomfort and help you sleep better at night, there are also several non-pharmaceutical ways to effectively address TMJ pain.

Temporarily switching to a liquid or soft diet may alleviate persistent pain and help your jaws become more relaxed, while physical therapy can help you strengthen and stretch your jaws in just the right way. Ice packs or moist heat can also provide substantial relief.  

If you have unexplainable tooth or jaw pain, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.