TMJ

Cincinnati, OH

Celebrating over 90 Years of Creating lifelong relationships with our patients and their families.


Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ disorders) are fairly common and can manifest in various ways. There are two temporomandibular joints in your body – one on each side of your head, located in front of your ears. TMJ develops when there is a problem with these joints or there are problems with the muscles responsible for chewing.


Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ disorder will often manifest itself in ways that appear to be unconnected to the jaw. This may include severe headaches or ear, neck, and face pain. While many people attribute these symptoms to stress or issues with their spine, they are often a result of this condition and can be easily rectified. Other more obvious symptoms include difficulty chewing or biting down, a popping or clicking sound when opening and closing the jaw, and jaw pain. In some cases, TMJ becomes so bad that a person can’t even open their mouth. This is the extreme, and there are almost always signs along the way. By the time people reach this point they have typically been experiencing discomfort in the mornings or throughout the day, difficulty chewing and a lack of mobility with their jaw in general. We treat patients that have this condition and recommend coming in at the first sign of irritation so that you can begin treatment before it becomes severe.

Causes of TMJ

There are several causes of TMJ with many theories yet to be proven. Some claim that posture can be responsible for TMJ as can a poor diet, a lack of sleep, and the cartilage disk found at the joint itself. As a TMJ dentist, we find that one of the most common causes of TMJ is clenching or grinding teeth at night. During times of high stress, many people fail to have a restful night’s sleep and take out their frustration by inadvertently clenching their jaw closed or grinding down their teeth while sleeping. This can manifest very early in life, with children even being impacted by teeth grinding. 

When this takes place, the muscles and joints are forced to remain in a tense position, leading to pain in the joints and muscles the following morning. If this happens only occasionally, you may have a minor headache and feel better the next day. If, however, this is occurring on a nightly basis, TMJ symptoms can begin to manifest, and you will begin to feel less and less comfortable. You may want to pay particular attention to whether or not you have a headache or jaw pain after having a stressful day at work or being upset about something. If there is no correlation and the pain is consistent, you should seek treatment immediately by calling our office. Alternatively, if your discomfort it only now and then, you can bring up your concerns at your next dental examination in our office – as long as it is within the next several months.

Need TMJ Pain Relief?

Contact us to schedule an exam and talk about what options might work for you to relieve TMJ pain.

Treatment Options

As a TMJ dentist, Dr. Peck always recommends starting with the least invasive treatment method. It is important to avoid placing any additional stress on your joints so while it may seem tempting to rush into surgical procedures – wait. Start with gently massaging your jaw muscles a couple of times per day. We can show you how to do so without irritating the area or causing a flare up. You may also want to analyze your diet to determine if any particular foods may be too difficult to chew, thereby making the problem worse. We often find that patients are increasing their jaw problems by regularly eating foods like tough meat and nuts that require more forceful chewing, placing stress on the muscles and jaw. By switching to soft foods or ones that are easily pulled apart, you may start to feel better immediately.

Botox & Dermal Fillers

Botox has proven to be invaluable in treating dental disorders such as TMJ disorder, teeth grinding and teeth clenching. If left untreated these disorders lead to joint, head and neck pain, including migraines. They also cause extreme stress on your natural teeth and crowns and veneers, causing chipping, cracking and breaking. With Botox injections, Dr. Peck is able to provide targeted therapeutic treatment to muscles that are extremely tight or spasming. Botox relaxes the muscle, alleviating the painful symptoms.

As an esthetic dentist, Dr. Peck is extremely knowledgeable about the facial and jaw muscles and how they function. He also understands the need for symmetry and balance to create a natural look that will turn back the clock ten years or more.

Non-Invasive Options

In our TMJ dentist’s office, we provide a non-invasive solution for helping patients to feel better. Since TMJ is often caused by teeth grinding or clenching, preventing the upper and lower teeth from touching is a fast way to experience relief. In our office, we can make an impression of your teeth and use it to create a custom night guard for you to wear while sleeping. The night guard is made of a clear and comfortable plastic that surrounds your upper and lower teeth, similar to how a full retainer would function. The main difference is that the upper and lower portion attach and by doing so, prevent your teeth from touching and your jaw from clenching. Very often, our patients report feeling better immediately and every night that you sleep without grinding your teeth, you have the opportunity to increase the quality of your rest and wake up feeling energized – a win/win scenario. Since the night guard is small, easily removed and stored, there are no clunky devices to worry about and you can take it with you when traveling.


Malocclusion

Some other seemingly unrelated symptoms include aching in your back, neck or shoulder. While discomfort in the upper body might seem unrelated to the temporomandibular jaw joint, individuals suffering from an unbalanced bite are prone to tilt their heads again and again, compelling the muscles of the back, neck and shoulders to compensate.

Tingling or numbness in the hands and arms might also indicate TMJ disorder. This results from nerves in your arms and hands being squeezed by muscle spasms in the neck, shoulders and face.

And, finally, you may suffer from depression because of the never-ending aches and pains.

Almost all dental treatment to relieve malocclusion requires the usage of a splint, or an oral device that temporarily alters the bite. In more serious instances, Dr. Peck could recommend a long-lasting change in the bite using tooth replacement, shifting teeth with orthodontic therapy, or possibly a combination of bonding and crowns or veneers. For numerous individuals, the outcomes were successful and their return to a pain-free level has provided these people one more chance for a considerably more rewarding life.

Dr. Peck and the dental hygienists are all friendly, do a great job, and are always on time. The office staff is professional, personable, and more than willing to help. In addition to my positive experiences at the office, I also appreciate the great communication and ease of scheduling.

– Eric B.

As a TMJ dentist, we speak with patients that have visited medical providers in Ohio that have recommended solving the problem surgically. We invite you to schedule an appointment to have your night guard created so that you can exhaust all options before considering escalating your treatment. Surgery is not something to be taken lightly and should only be performed as a last result. To further discuss our non-invasive solution, call to speak with one of our team members today.

What makes us different?

Dr. Fred Peck and his team are perfectionists when it comes to your smile.

A tradition of Dental Excellence