TMJ Treatment

Brad Barker, DDS, LVIF -  - General Dentistry

Houston Dental Smiles

Brad Barker, DDS, LVIF

General Dentistry located in Houston, TX

The pain and discomfort of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can severely affect your quality of life. Thankfully, Brad Barker, DDS, LVIF, and the dental experts at Houston Dental Smiles are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating TMJ disorder. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about TMJ treatment at Houston Dental Smiles. You can book your visit online or by calling the Houston office directly.

TMJ Treatment Q & A

What is TMJ?

Your TMJ is your temporomandibular joint, and it connects your jawbone to the temporal bones in your skull. Your TMJ is a complex system that has both hinge-like and sliding mechanisms, enabling you to smoothly speak, talk, and yawn.

When you’re TMJ isn’t functioning properly, you’re said to have TMJ disorder (or TMD). This can make it difficult and/or painful to properly move your jaw, which impacts your ability to easily speak and eat. 

TMJ disorders occur most often in people between 20-40 years of age and are seen more frequently in women than men.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

TMJ varies widely from patient to patient, but some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain and tenderness
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Pain or ringing in your ears
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Jaw locking, or difficulty opening or closing your mouth all the way
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when moving your jaw
  • An awkward bite, as if your teeth don’t fit together properly

Some patients might experience only one or a few of these symptoms, while others might experience several. The intensity of the symptoms also varies widely. 

What causes TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Jaw trauma or dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding
  • Improperly aligned bite

Dr. Barker examines your jaw and asks about your medical history during your consultation to get a better sense of what might be causing your TMJ disorder.

How is TMJ disorder treated?

Before devising a treatment plan, Dr. Barker first assesses and evaluates the root cause of your TMJ disorder. 

Once he has a better understanding of what’s causing your jaw pain, he creates an individualized treatment plan to help fix your condition. Your treatment plan depends on the severity and duration of your conditions.

It’s best to start treatment of TMJ conservatively, especially if your symptoms are more mild and short-lived. Some of the methods that Dr. Barker might use to initially treat your TMJ disorder include:

  • Special oral appliances
  • Medications to relax your jaw and relieve pain
  • Physical therapy

Dr. Barker might also recommend some lifestyle changes that can alleviate your symptoms, such as:

  • Decreasing the stress in your life
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Refraining from sudden jaw movements like yawning or yelling

For many patients, these conservative treatments are all they need to overcome their TMJ disorder. Other patients, however, might need more advanced procedures, like joint injections or jaw surgery.

If you’re suffering from TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Houston Dental Smiles online or by phone today.