TMJ Treatment in Colorado Springs
Have you been noticing headaches as soon as you wake up in the mornings? Do your ears feel stuffed up? Have you noticed a clicking noise when you open your jaw?
You may think these are just some annoying problems that you have to live with. However, these may be caused by a condition called “TMJ” — and Dr. Gary Moore and the staff at Stetson Hills Dental can help you to find relief.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a common way to refer to the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It is also a term that refers to pain and problems with this joint. Some may also refer to these problems as TMD (temporomandibular disorders).
What are other TMJ symptoms?
TMJ is serious for patients who suffer with this disorder, because it can cause constant pain that makes it hard to concentrate, eat, and just enjoy life.
Headaches, stuffy ears, and a clicking noise is just the beginning for some who have TMJ. It can also cause:
- Soreness in the neck and head, and especially in the jaw
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Worn and chipped teeth
- Numbness in the fingertips
- Stress and injury to muscles in the head because the jaw muscle has to work harder to perform basic functions
What are TMJ causes?
There are many possible causes of TMJ, which is a misalignment of the jaw, meaning that the chewing muscles don’t work together properly. It can be caused by arthritis in the joint or an injury to your head and neck. It can also be caused by stress. When you are anxious, you might clench your jaw and grind your teeth without even knowing it — you may even have a habit of doing this in your sleep.
What are TMJ treatment options?
It is important to detect TMJ and begin treatment early. Each patient is different, and Dr. Moore will have to give you a thorough exam to try to determine what is causing your TMJ and how best to treat it.
There are many different treatments to TMJ, ranging from things the patient can try at home to surgery. Dr. Moore may recommend that you change your diet, and stick to soft foods that are easy to chew. You might want to find ways to reduce stress or try to find ways to relax, such as signing up for yoga, taking walks, or ending each day with a nice warm bubble bath. You should also avoid sudden and extreme jaw movements (such as opening your mouth too wide when yawning), and you can try strengthening your jaw with special exercises. Another option may be muscle relaxants.
Dr. Moore may also recommend Botox for TMJ. Most people think of using Botox for cosmetic purposes. It can prevent new creases and wrinkles from forming on the face. However, the way Botox works also makes it perfect for use in patients with TMJ. Botox can be injected into the masseter muscle, the large muscle of the jaw, in a patient with TMJ. It blocks nerve impulses and relaxes the muscle, and it is quick and painless, which makes it a possible solution for those suffering with TMJ.
Splints are made out of plastic, and fit right over your natural teeth. They may feel strange at first, but patients usually get used to wearing them very quickly. A splint known as a “night guard” may help to keep your bottom and top teeth apart while you sleep. This prevents the patient from grinding teeth, one cause of TMJ pain. An anterior positioning appliance may also help TMJ. This pushes the lower jaw slightly forward, which helps to relieve pressure on the jaw.
As a last resort, and in very serious cases, surgery may be recommended to completely reconstruct the jaw.
What will TMJ treatment cost?
Because there are so many causes of TMJ and so many possible treatments, Dr. Moore must examine your jaw before giving you an estimate of what treatment will cost.
Stetson Hills Dental accepts many different types of insurance, including Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, and Delta Dental. The staff will be happy to work with your insurance provider to see what if any of your TMJ treatment they will cover.
However, Dr. Moore and the staff at Stetson Hills Dental don’t want anyone to suffer with the pain of TMJ, even if you don’t have insurance that will help you to cover the cost. That’s why Stetson Hills Dental also offers financing, discounts on full-family treatment, and full payment incentives. Major credit cards and personal checks are also accepted.