If you’re confused about TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders), you’re not alone. Doctors and dentists are not fully in agreement about what TMJ is, generally accepting that it’s a cluster of linked disorders that can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Dentists can’t even agree on what to call it, with some dentists preferring the acronym TMD, others TMJD, and still others TMJDS (for temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome).
When Your Doctor Can’t Identify Your Symptoms
One of the problems with TMJ is that it’s often a diagnostic category that doctors use when they don’t really know what’s causing your symptoms. Common symptoms that are linked with TMJ can include:
- Jaw pain, either in the joint or cheeks
- Problems with opening the jaw, closing the jaw, or chewing
- Jaw sounds like popping, clicking, or grinding
- Difficulty sleeping
- Earaches or stuffiness in the ears
- Ringing in the ears, dizziness, or vertigo
- Neck pain
- Back pain
Your doctor may not really know what’s going on, and may refer you either to a physical therapist or a dentist.
The problem is that many dentists have only basic training in TMJ treatment, and they may not be able to treat it well. And physical therapists may have an even lower success rate.
Expert Diagnosis and Treatment
But Dr. Winters is an expert on TMJ, and he’s had a very good success rate at treating the condition. Treatment begins with a thorough diagnostic workup that can scientifically identify whether you really have TMJ or not. If we can pin down the cause of your pain as being related to your jaws and teeth, we can treat it with a high degree of success. Noninvasive treatments like relaxing muscle treatments and removable bite splint can be used to help us relieve your symptoms while we consider whether more serious interventions are warranted.
Our diagnosis will also tell us if your TMJ isn’t something we can treat. We’ll then refer you to a more appropriate treating doctor, which may be anything from a neurologist to a psychologist.
If you are tired of living a life limited by TMJ pain, please call (918) 528-3330 for an appointment with expert TMJ dentist Dr. Kevin Winters at Winters Dental Excellence in Tulsa.