Recognizing The Diagnosis Of A TMJ Disorder
Healthcare providers have long overlooked the temporomandibular joint and jaw muscles as the source of their patients’ persistent face, teeth, ear, and sinus pain. Therefore, patients are frequently misdiagnosed. As a result, countless people are prescribed medications or pursue medical and dental treatment or surgery that does not solve their problems.
In 2020, after decades of efforts by practitioners who were focused on TMJ disorders in their practices, the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards designated Orofacial Pain as a specialty. Orofacial Pain is the area of dentistry that encompasses disorders of the jaw, mouth, face, and neck. In the years to come, this development will make it easier for patients to get their TMJ diagnosed correctly and successfully treated.
For the moment, however, there are only a few board-certified Orofacial Pain specialists in the New York area, and we are proud that two of them lead our staff at New York TMJ & Orofacial Pain! (Learn more about our practice here.)
How TMJ Is Diagnosed At New York TMJ & Orofacial Pain
When you arrive for your first visit, we sit down with you and have what we refer to as a diagnostic conversation. Our goal is to understand your symptoms and, most importantly, get to know you as an individual and discover what has recently shaped and impacted your life.
During this first visit, we also review your relevant medical and dental history and examine whether your symptoms are due to tissue injury in your TMJs, jaw and/or neck muscles, or other oral tissues. To complete our assessment, we may need to obtain x-rays or CT scans of your jaws in our office or refer you for additional imaging or medical consultations and tests.
If we make a diagnosis during your first visit, we can start the treatment process immediately and get you on the road to healing and feeling better. Our goal is for you to leave our office with a sense of confidence that you are in good hands.
What Is TMJ & Why Does It Cause So Many Problems?
TMJ problems can disrupt your life with pain and suffering, and severe TMJ can persist for years. Way too often, patients are forced to figure out what is wrong on their own, which is evidenced by the fact that the question, “What is TMJ?” is entered into Google over 27,000 times each month in the US alone.
What Happens Once TMJ Is Diagnosed
Once your TMJ is diagnosed, we have treatment options to help you get better, and we will choose what’s most likely to work for you, depending on what caused your problem. But, there is something that sets TMJ treatment apart from most other types of dental treatment:
You must be an active participant to ensure your successful TMJ recovery.
Because fatigue in your temporomandibular joints and jaw muscles may result from years of ongoing over-use behaviors such as teeth clenching or grinding, or biting your nails, it’s critical that they stop. To get your TMJ problems under control, you will have to do some of the work. At the same time, we will provide treatment, which can include oral appliances, medications, jaw exercises, joint and muscle injections, or Botox.
Whether you’ve suffered from TMJ problems for years or just recently noticed that your jaw just “doesn’t feel right,” we invite you to make an appointment at one of our offices in the New York City metropolitan area. We understand your symptoms, have compassion for what you’ve been going through and will get you on the path to feeling better.
At New York TMJ and Orofacial Pain, our team is led by board-certified Orofacial Pain specialists who have successfully treated TMJ patients for decades. We have extensive training and experience that enables us to diagnose TMJ accurately. Whether you suffer from mild symptoms or severe TMJ, we have many ways to help you heal.
Call us at 888-560-6674 to make an appointment at the office near you, or complete this quick
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What Is TMJ? When asked, “What Is TMJ?” most people would answer, “It’s a jaw problem.” But, the acronym TMJ actually refers to your temporomandibular joints, which are your jaw joints.
How is TMJ diagnosed?
At New York TMJ & Orofacial Pain, we use a two-fold approach to diagnose TMJ. In order for TMJ to be correctly diagnosed and treated, we want to understand who you are as a person and find out what’s going on in your life. At your first visit, we will sit down and just talk with you. We’ll listen carefully to how you describe your symptoms and determine whether you have moderate or severe TMJ. At the same visit, we will perform an examination and take x-rays or refer you for more tests, if necessary.
What is TMJ treatment like?
We have many different treatment methods to reduce the symptoms of TMJ, such as oral appliances, medications, jaw exercises, joint, muscle injections, and Botox, to name a few. If your jaw problem results from over-use behaviors such as teeth clenching and grinding, nail-biting, gum chewing, etc., we will help you reduce or eliminate them using relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and meditation.
Can someone recover from severe TMJ?
Some people suffer from such severe TMJ symptoms that they feel like it’s taken over their lives. To make matters worse, many healthcare providers unfamiliar with temporomandibular joint disorders often prescribe medications, treatment, or surgery that do not solve the problem. TMJ and Orofacial Pain specialists, on the other hand, know how to help people who suffer from what is a severe TMJ problem heal and get better.
If you are suffering from TMJ and do not live in the NYC metro area, you can find a specialist in your area here. Look for the designation, Diplomate.