How Dr. Tan-Chu Treats TMJ Disorders

You might have heard someone say “I have TMJ” as if it is an illness. However, this is not the case. Instead of a sickness or disorder, your TMJ are more properly known as your temporomandibular joints. This complex system of muscles, bones and cartilage is what allows you to open and close your mouth and includes your lower jaw (mandible) and the muscles and ligaments that move it.  What this person probably meant is that they have a TMD — a temporomandibular disorder.

Both sides of your skull have a ball and socket joint that allows your mandible freedom of movement. These contain a disc of spongy cartilage that supports the load of the jaw while also allowing it to open wide or move from side to side. Any problem that disturbs this system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones can be called a TMJ disorder. Dr. Jocelyn Tan-Chu in Larchmont, NY can diagnose and treat these issues to relieve the discomfort from TMD’s and stop the progression of dental issues that they can cause.

Symptoms of a TMD

TMDs can be difficult to diagnose as they reveal themselves very differently in each person. However, some of the most common signs of a TMD are:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Popping, clicking or grating of the jaw (TMJ joint)
  • “Locked” jaw and/or limited mobility in the jaw joint
  • Discomfort when eating or chewing
  • Chronic earaches without evidence of ear infections
  • Soreness or tiredness in the face and/or jaws

What Causes TMJ Disorders (TMD)?

Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Injury
  • Alignment of jaw and teeth
  • Teeth grinding due to stress

How is TMJ Diagnosed?

A dentist knowledgeable in TMD’s like Dr. Tan-Chu must examine your bite and diagnose the condition and determine its severity before treatment begins. A dental exam to diagnose a TMD should include your dentist checking the joints and muscles of the jaw for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty of motion. Depending on the severity of the condition, Dr. Tan-Chu may refer you to a physician or a dental specialist for more advanced treatment.

How is TMJ Treated?

Dr. Jocelyn Tan-Chu uses T-Scan to more accurately evaluate your bite and determine where there may be an imbalance.

T-Scan is a handheld device that provides digital feedback for analyzing the forces on each individual tooth when patients bite down on the designated spot. This technology enables Dr. Tan-Chu to create a very personalized plan of treatment that is designed to restore a balanced and functional bite.

For patients, the accuracy of diagnosis through the use of T-Scan leads to results that are comfortable and will support long term dental health. Instead of merely treating the symptoms of a bite disorder, Dr. Tan-Chu is able to address the underlying cause and effectively treat it for a better outcome.

For less serious TMD’s, there are several lifestyle adjustments that Dr. Tan-Chu may suggest you try before considering more invasive treatment. These lifestyle changehome-based remedies include:

  • Eating softer foods.
  • Avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
  • Applying heat packs to the source of the discomfort
  • Consider trying relaxation techniques to relieve tension in the jaw such as meditation or biofeedback.
  • Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles

If your symptoms are more severe, Dr. Tan-Chu may suggest the following therapies for TMJ:

  • Medication to relieve anxiety
  • Oral appliance therapy (such as a night guard)
  • Dental splints
  • Occlusal equilibration, making changes to the fit of the bite by reshaping and/or removing tooth structure

Learn More About TMJ Treatment at Our Offices

With a one-on-one consultation, Dr. Tan-Chu can determine which treatment would best suit your specific case of TMD. Dr. Tan-Chu is a skilled professional with over 20 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Tan-Chu about treatment for TMD, please schedule a consultation online today!