TMJ (Jaw joint) Treatment in Atlanta
Effective relief from TMJ pain and headaches from an experienced, respected TMJ dentist
The TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint or jaw joint) is composed of two hinge joints where your lower jaw (mandible) meets your “temporal” skull bone immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. This flexible joint allows you to move your jaw to talk and chew food.
When the TMJ or the muscles connected to it are functioning poorly, the person may experience head, neck and jaw pain. This is known as TMJ syndrome or TMJ disorder (TMD).
Highly trained, skilled and experienced TMJ dentist
Dr. Padolsky is highly trained and knowledgeable in treating TMJ disorders. He has over 30 years of experience treating TMJ disorders and has helped thousands of patients resolve TMJ issues. Dr. Padolsky has 450 referring dentists who send their patients to him for TMJ treatment.
Dr, Padolsky earned a Fellowship in the Atlanta Craniomandibular Society in 1990, where he also served as president and as Vice President and General Meeting Chairman. He has also been a visiting professor for three years at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dentistry in the area of Temporomandibular Disorders.
Typical symptoms of a TMJ disorder
Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorders include TMJ headache, jaw clicking, jaw popping, grinding noises in the jaw joints, limited opening, deviation with opening the mouth, sensitive teeth, insomnia, sore jaw muscles, stuffy ears, stiff jaw and tooth grinding.
More severe symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, difficulty swallowing, jaw locking, facial swelling, false migraines, pressure in front of the ears, TMJ pain, difficulty speaking and yawning.
Causes of TMJ disorder
Misaligned (bad) bite. The most common causes or reasons for TMJ disorder are clenching and grinding of teeth and a misaligned (bad) bite or malocclusion. A misaligned bite can occur as a result of genetics, trauma, worn-away or missing teeth, or poor body posture. Tooth grinding can also damage teeth by wearing them down and puts undue stress on dental bridges, implants and other tooth restorations.
Disk erosion. The parts of the TMJ bones are separated by a disk made of cartilage. If this disk erodes or is damaged by arthritis, TMJ disorders can occur.
Stress. People who are under a great deal of stress can develop a bad habit of tightening their facial and jaw muscles or clenching their teeth.
Injury due to blunt force trauma. Blunt force trauma due to injury can create a TMJ disorder. In some cases, TMJ disorders may also be caused by diet or allergies.
Relieving your TMJ pain with effective TMJ Therapy
Dr. Padolsky has designed a multi-pronged program to effectively treat the underlying causes of TMJ disorder. When the underlying cause of the problem is treated, the symptoms will disappear.
Thorough TMJ examination and diagnosis
As a first step, Dr. Padolsky will meet with you and review your dental and medical history, and give you a thorough TMJ examination. In addition to conducting a complete oral exam, he will do a cranial exam and check the muscles in your head, face and neck along with examining your temporo-mandibular joints.
Procedures for TMJ pain-relief
The first priority in treating a patient’s TMJ disorder is to relieve any muscle tension, spasms and muscle pain. Ninety percent of all TMJ pain comes from muscle pain, which is the primary source of TMJ pain and TMJ headaches. Even though jaw muscles are usually not the cause of TMJ problems, pain in these muscles is almost always a patient’s primary complaint. Once the jaw muscles have returned to normal, the TMJ joint itself can be properly evaluated.
Although massaging the muscles of the face, head and trigger point muscles of the neck may temporarily relieve some of the symptoms, it will not correct the underlying cause of TMJ disorder. However, massage will reduce tension in these muscles and provide some relief, and is an important therapeutic tool in treating TMJ disorders.
Dr. Padolsky may recommend certain vitamins, herbs and other supplements to help aid in the treatment of TMJ disorder. Pain relievers may also help while treatment is ongoing.
Oral appliance therapy
An oral appliance keeps your jaw in position and relaxed. This oral appliance can also adjust your bite into an optimal, natural position. It needs to be worn 24/7 and normally takes two to six weeks to achieve this goal.
Orthodontics can be an effective approach that can help with TMJ disorder. Once teeth are positioned correctly, the TMJ will also shift back into its optimal alignment. This will reduce or even eliminate any ongoing symptoms as well as prevent abnormal wear and tear to teeth, which can occur when teeth are not properly aligned.
Treating TMJ Headaches
Massage Therapy. Gentle self-massage often helps relieve TMJ headache pain but will only provide temporary relief. Dr. Padolsky will instruct you on the best methods to massage your jaw and facial muscles to relieve tension and pain.
Pain Medication. TMJ headaches can often be helped by using Motrin, Nuprin or Advil. They all contain Ibuprofen which is an anti-inflammatory medication that helps to relieve muscle pain.
Oral Appliance. An oral appliance is the most effective treatment in helping patients to relieve their TMJ headaches. Dr. Padolsky will customize a soft, comfortably fitting oral appliance to support the lower jaw by holding it down and forward, and keep teeth from grinding. Patients often feel relief from TMJ headache pain after just one week!
To make an appointment, call 404-476-5504 or click here to request an appointment online.