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TMJ/TMD Treatment in Chicago

The acronym “TMJ” is short for temporomandibular joint (a.k.a., the jaw joint) which connects the jaw to the skull. Conditions affecting the TMJ are called TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders), and are usually characterized by pain around the jaw, ear and face, as well as limited jaw movements. TMJ pain and TMD affects approximately 35 million Americans. However, many are able to gain relief and live a happier, healthier life under the care of a TMD professional.

Patients with TMJ pain in Chicago trust Dr. Jack Manikowski. If you have experienced some of the symptoms described on this page, Dr. Jack encourages you to take the first step toward relief and book an appointment at Lincoln Park Smiles.

What Causes TMD?

The anatomy of the temporomandibular joint and connecting jawbone certainly play a part in the development of TMJ pain/TMD. For example, the bones that connect the joint to the jaw and the skull are covered with protective cartilage, and separated by a small, shock-absorbing disk. TMD can develop if these structural components malfunction (e.g., the disk erodes or the cartilage is affected by arthritis) or the joint sustains severe impact or trauma. Chronic teeth clenching or grinding can also put enormous pressure on the joint and cause perpetual TMJ pain.

Symptoms of TMD

Many people describe TMJ pain as a dull ache around the jaw joint and surrounding areas. Other symptoms of TMD can include:

  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Ear pain/pressure
  • Stiffness in the jaw muscles
  • Chronic headaches
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping noise when opening/closing the mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears

Diagnosing TMJ

Dr. Jack uses several types of diagnostic tools and tests for TMJ disorder. He will first ask you for a detailed history of your health, including any chronic medical conditions or injuries that could have affected the jaw. Dr. Jack will also perform a clinical exam of your head and neck; he will look at your jaw’s range of motion and listen to your jaw as you open and close your mouth. He may also press on areas around your jaw to identify any tender or painful places. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are other helpful diagnostic tools to take a clearer look at the teeth and jaws.

Treatment Options

Most TMJ/TMD experts prefer to start with a conservative treatment approach before pursuing more invasive options. Eating soft foods and applying ice to the TMJ area can be useful in relieving symptoms. Oral medication (like muscle relaxants) can also relieve pain and relax the jaw muscles. A night guard or sport bite guard can also protect the teeth from clenching/grinding. If these approaches do not help, Dr. Jack can explore other options, such as physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscle or corticosteroids to ease symptoms. If all else fails, surgery can be performed to repair or replace the joint.

Contact Our Chicago TMJ Dentist

If you are experiencing chronic pain as the result of TMJ disorder, please contact our Chicago dentist, Dr. Jack, to schedule an informative consultation. Call Lincoln Park Smiles today at 312-337-1665.

Dr. Jack is committed to continued education and is an active member of the following prestigious associations…