Exploring TMJ Disorder Treatments That Work for You

A woman holds her jaw as if in pain.If you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, symptoms such as headaches, facial pain, and a sore jaw may be affecting you on a daily basis. Dr. Jeffrey S. Kearney has special training including a craniofacial pain residency at The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain Institute and more than 15 years of treatment experience in neuromuscular and centric-relation techniques to treat TMJ disorder. If you suffer from symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact our Cary office to learn more about the treatment options that we can provide. Our sophisticated approach to treating TMJ disorder can deliver the relief you need.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints connect the jaw to the skull. Surrounded by muscles, nerves, and connective tissue, these joints allow you to open and close your mouth, and to shift your jaw from side to side. When this joint is compromised or damaged, it can cause pain, headaches, and a variety of other problems. 

TMJ disorder is not necessarily associated with any specific cause. It can lead to many complications, including a dislocated joint, stress and muscle tension, teeth grinding and clenching, arthritis, and more.

Candidates for Treatment

TMJ disorder can greatly impact a patient's quality of life if left untreated. Commonly reported symptoms include:

  • Frequent Headaches (#1 complaint of TMJ and orofacial pain patients)
  • Jaw popping, clicking, or locking
  • Pain or swelling on the side of the face
  • A ringing in the ears
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Inability to open the mouth completely
  • Painful or difficult chewing

Dr. Kearney has the experience necessary to provide relief from this very serious condition. He includes a TMJ disorder screening during all checkups.  By utilizing Sirona 3D imaging, Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA), and Biopack instrumentation, Dr. Kearney can provide an in-depth analysis of the condition of the TMJ’s if needed.  Among other things, this equipment records vibrations and noises that may be inaudible to the human ear, records muscle activity and precisely tracks jaw movements.  Excessive vibrations, hyperactive muscles, and abnormal jaw movements are all indicative of TMJ disorders and often contribute to the pain and symptoms experienced.

Treatments for TMJ Disorder

Dr. Kearney can treat TMJ disorder in a variety of ways. Treatment may include:

  • Splint Therapy - Dr. Kearney will provide you with a custom-fitted oral appliance, much like an athletic mouth guard. This appliance repositions your jaw to improve alignment and reduce stress. It may also cushion your teeth if you suffer from grinding or clenching. The design of the splint and wear requirements vary from person to person, depending on the severity of your condition.
  • Trigger Point Injections - For severe pain, Dr. Kearney may inject your TMJ with local anesthetic and other agents, such as Sarapin, to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Electrotherapy - To promote healing, Dr. Kearney may use electrotherapy to stimulate blood flow, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. He will either use an ultrasound wand, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
  • Laser Therapy- Our MLS laser is a non cutting, cold laser that works wonders on inflammation.  This laser can be used to reduce muscle tightness and pain in all the areas associated with TMJ.

Contact Us Today

If you suffer from chronic discomfort and frustration as a result of TMJ disorder, contact us today to learn more about your options. You no longer have to suffer with this painful and obtrusive condition. If Dr. Kearney determines that TMJ disorder is not the cause of your discomfort, he also provides a full range of restorative and general dentistry treatments that can provide the relief you need. Don't wait any longer to pursue a comfortable, functional bite.