Recognizing the Signs of TMJ
If you find yourself regularly experiencing jaw pain, you might think this is just your normal state. However, persistent pain in the jaw is anything but ordinary and could indicate an issue with your Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs), the hinges connecting your lower jaw to your skull. When these joints are misaligned or diseased, inflammation can occur, leading to pain and a range of other symptoms.
What are the indicators of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)?
- Migraines or frequent headaches
- Sensitivity or discomfort around the ears
- Pain in the face or jaw region
- Muscular discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
- Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
- Audible jaw clicks, pops, or grinding noises
- Challenges with chewing, yawning, or fully opening the mouth
How We Diagnose and Treat TMJ & TMD Effectively
The first step in treating TMD is an extensive clinical assessment that includes evaluating your facial structure, jaw alignment, dental bite, and the overall condition of your teeth and joints. During this examination, we focus on areas of tenderness or pain and listen for any sounds of clicking or popping when you move your jaw to speak, eat, or swallow. If TMD is confirmed, we often suggest starting treatment with a bite splint or night guard.
Treatment and Relief
Our primary treatment strategy involves the use of custom-fitted bite splints. These are specially crafted plastic devices that snugly fit over your upper and/or lower dental arch. These splints work by preventing actions like grinding and clenching, which are common triggers or aggravators of TMD. Additionally, the device helps to realign the jaw, thereby easing tension and stress in the surrounding tissues.
Should the cause of your TMD symptoms be attributed to a misaligned dental bite or missing teeth, we may propose orthodontic treatment or dental restorations as a solution. If we find that your dental bite exerts excessive pressure on your TMJs, altering the shape of individual teeth to balance the distribution of bite forces may be recommended.
A Look at TMJ Treatment Costs in Knoxville
The out-of-pocket cost for TMJ treatments can differ significantly based on the individual’s needs and treatment plan. If you have insurance that covers TMJ treatments, you might expect to pay in the range of $200 to $500+ for initial treatments like bite splints or night guards. Without insurance, a ballpark figure for initial treatments might be around $500 to $1,000 and up, while more intensive treatments like orthodontics or surgery could cost considerably more.
So what factors into the cost of TMJ treatments?
- The specific type of treatment: whether it’s a bite splint, orthodontics, or more invasive options like surgery.
- The complexity and location of the issue: for example, if both TMJs are affected, the cost may be higher.
- The number of treatments or appliances needed: such as multiple visits for adjustments or multiple devices.
- Combining TMJ treatments with other dental procedures: like restorative dental work.
- Supplies and specialized equipment used during your treatment.
It’s crucial to note that no dental practice can offer an exact quote over the phone for TMJ treatments. Your needs are as unique as your jaw alignment and overall oral health. We highly recommend scheduling a consultation with a qualified dentist for a comprehensive oral exam. This will provide you with personalized treatment options and an accurate cost estimate. If you have dental insurance, we can prepare a quote for you to submit to your insurance provider, helping you understand your out-of-pocket costs before you make a treatment decision.
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Treatment may involve the use of custom-fitted bite splints, physical therapy, medications for pain and inflammation, and in some severe cases, surgical intervention.
Insurance coverage for TMJ treatments varies widely. It’s essential to check with your specific insurance provider to determine what treatments are covered and what your out-of-pocket costs might be.
A bite splint is a custom-made plastic mouthpiece that fits over your teeth. It works by preventing grinding and clenching, common triggers for TMJ, and can help in re-aligning the jaw.
The duration of treatment can vary widely depending on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of the treatment strategy, ranging from a few weeks to several months.
Home remedies may include applying ice or warm compresses, avoiding hard-to-chew foods, and performing jaw exercises. However, it’s advisable to consult with a dentist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Yes, children can experience TMJ disorders, although it’s more commonly found in adults. Treatment for children usually involves more conservative approaches.
Stress can exacerbate TMJ symptoms by contributing to behaviors like teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Stress management techniques may be a useful adjunct to other TMJ treatments.
The duration for wearing a bite splint varies from case to case. Some people may need it for a short period, while others might require long-term use.
Most often, TMJ pain can be treated effectively with non-invasive treatments and therapies. In very rare circumstances, TMD may require surgery. Your health and happiness are both important to us. We will always present you with all of your options, work through the safest and easiest options first, and give you the final decision on what happens next.
TMD is caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It’s believed that bruxism (tooth clenching or grinding) and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor. However, it is not clear if stress causes TMD or is a result. Other things that may lead to TMDs are partial or full dentures that are not the right fit and certain habits such as fingernail biting and pen or pencil biting. As you can see, there are an array of different causes which makes TMD hard to diagnose. The best way to understand your jaw pain symptoms are to book an appointment.
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. If this joint becomes misaligned or inflamed we refer to that as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD for short.
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Attentive, genuinely caring team! Dr. Bowdle, Dr. Wolkow, and their staff are always friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable. We're thrilled to have them as our dental care professionals and part of our family's healthcare providers!
I had a major dental bridge failure shortly after moving to Knoxville and was devastated- I couldn't eat or smile! It happened during the weekend, and I didn't even have a dentist, so I felt pretty helpless. However, my son called Knox Legacy Dental and they immediately called me personally, ensuring I was okay and asking for pictures of my broken bridge to see what was going on. First thing Monday morning I officially became a patient! Through their meticulous work, my smile was fully restored and I haven't looked back since!
I can't say enough great things about Dr. Wolkow and his staff. I am a new patient and was nervous since it had been way too long since I had been to a dentist. Yet, the entire staff was beyond nice and explained every single thing they were looking for or checking on with great consideration. They did a very thorough exam to check for various things. In both of my visits I was seated within 5 minutes after arriving, which has never happened anywhere else! Stellar hospitality! If you are looking for a new dentist, look no further!