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TMJ Therapy in Gilbert

If you routinely experience jaw pain, then you are in good company. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that some 10 million adults in America have temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. This condition causes pain in the jaw joints and the muscles that allow you to move your jaw up and down, back and forth and side to side. For reasons unknown, TMJ is more common among women than men. Fortunately, treatment is available to eliminate the pain and discomfort. Dr. Hanna offers several options to address your TMJ so you can get your life back on track without pain.

The Causes of TMJ

In some cases, TMJ can be attributed to a traumatic injury to your jaw in general or to the temporomandibular joint specifically. However, there is often not one reason to blame for TMJ.

Other possible reasons for TMJ disorder are bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), arthritis in the jaw joints and stress. Also, because TMJ is more commonly found among women, researchers are examining a possible connection between female hormones and TMJ.

The Symptoms of TMJ

Different people experience different symptoms of TMJ. For many, the most common is pain, especially when you are chewing, talking, yawning or laughing. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain that radiates from the jaw to other areas of the face, as well as the neck and even shoulders
  • Muscle stiffness in your jaw
  • Feeling as if your jaw is locked in place
  • A clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth
  • A change in your bite or the way your upper and lower teeth come together

Treating TMJ in Gilbert

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, then call our office to schedule an appointment with Gilbert dentist Dr. Hanna. She will conduct a thorough examination of your teeth, jaw and neck in order to diagnose TMJ. If the diagnosis is positive, then there are several treatment options.

Custom Oral Appliance

First, a custom-fitted oral appliance may provide tremendous relief if Dr. Hanna finds that some of your teeth are worn because of bruxism. This comfortable oral device is worn at night while you sleep to protect your teeth and reduce the pressure on your jaw that is caused by grinding and clenching.

Muscle Relaxation

Another alternative is jaw muscle relaxation. For this, Dr. Hanna may recommend cold and heat therapy, Botox injections or low-level laser therapy. With Botox injections, a small and concentrated amount of this neurotoxin is injected into the muscle. Just as Botox paralyzes the muscles that cause facial lines and wrinkles, it can also safely be used on jaw muscles without impacting normal function.

Laser Therapy

Low-level laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that delivers light energy in order to stimulate healing of your damaged jaw muscles and ligaments. The light energy encourages cell growth and blood flow, both of which are integral to any healing process.