Tag Archives: TMJ specialist

Is there a correlatoin between TMJ and numb fingers?

Lately, I have had this numbing, tingling feeling in my fingers and I was wondering if it could be related to my TMJ disorder? I am very familiar with all the other symptoms of bruxism and grinding and how they affect my TMJ, like pain in my jaw and face, ringing in my ears, and stiffness in the jaw joint. But this numbing pins and needles feeling is new. It only happens with my left hand and I was wondering if there is a correlation here?

– Loretta in Missouri

Loretta,

TMJ symptoms are wide-ranging and TMJ disorder manifests differently for everyone. But to answer your question, yes, the numb feeling you have described can be connected with TMJ disorder. Typically it is not as common of a TMJ symptom, having been reported in about 50 percent of TMJ patients.

Here is what is happening in regard to the numbness. When your bite is misaligned, muscle spasms may occur. And since all of your muscles are inter-connected, when your jaw is misaligned it is quite possible to see problems down in your extremities. This is because the muscle spasms that you experience causing the tightness in your jaw, face, and neck area can influence the connecting nerves that travel into your arms. When these nerves are bothered, periodic numbness or tingling can be a result. That said, the numbness may not always occur as a result of TMJ pain. It can happen spontaneously.

It is important that you report any new or different TMJ problems to your TMJ specialist or the dentist that is treating you. Open communication will enable the best TMJ treatment to meet your specific needs.

Thank you for your question!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics by Dr. Steve Bader.

Can’t take this pain. Is it TMJ?

I simply cannot take this pain any longer. It’s my face, ears, and jaw that are absolutely killing me. I haven’t officially been diagnosed with TMJ but from all the research I’ve done, that has to be what is going on. Can you tell me a little more about TMJ?

– Betsy in Missouri

Betsy,

Facial pain, pain in the jaw joint or area, ringing in the ears or earaches are all symptoms of TMJ disorder. The temporalmandibuar joint (TMJ) is the small joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull and helps you to talk and chew normally. This joint is used when you eat and yawn, really any movement of your jaw. TMJ disorder can affect the muscles and tendons that surround your jaw as well. Pain or sensitivity and soreness, as well as locking are all signs of TMJ.

It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of TMJ, but stress can be a major contributing factor. Other factors that can cause TMJ are an injury or trauma to the face, grinding of the teeth or clenching, and some arthritis patients have found it is a cause of TMJ. As mentioned previously, stress can make you clench or grind your teeth and tighten your facial muscles which can lead to TMJ problems.

A proper diagnosis is key when trying to find TMJ treatment. TMJ dentists and specialists use varying techniques that range from medications or a simple mouth piece, to more advanced neuromuscular therapy, and in some extreme cases surgery.

You don’t want to be in pain anymore, so don’t put it off any longer. Find a TMJ specialist in your area.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Teeth grinding and perscriptions

Is a common side effect of prescription drugs teeth grinding?

– Beth in Tennessee

Beth,

Teeth grinding and clenching isn’t an exact science. To be honest, no one really knows the exact cause. There has been a lot of research that indicates stress, anger, and anxiety can play a role in grinding. There have also been many studies that link certain medications to teeth grinding. For example, Sinement CR Oral, Atapryl, Carbex, and Selegiline are used to treat Parkinsons Disease and they can cause grinding. Prolintane is another drug used for Dementia patients. It contains some anti-depressant formulas that can cause individuals to clench or grind. Illegal drugs like Ecstasy contain the stimulants like amphetamines which can cause grinding. If you are using these kinds of medications or drugs, your dentist will be able to examine your teeth to see signs of wear.

A common TMJ treatment from a dentist is a night guard. This will help to protect your teeth and gums. And it will also alleviate the pain and pressure to your TMJ joint and the surrounding muscles.

Sometimes people don’t realize that they care clenching or grinding because it happens at night while they are asleep. Jaw pain, chipped or cracked teeth, worn down edges of teeth, receding gums, headaches, and ear aches are all signs of grinding. TMJ disorder can also result from ongoing grinding and clenching.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA Cosmetic Dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

I think I have lock jaw.

Hi,

I have been told that I have TMD. I am 17 and have dealt with lock jaw for over three years now. It usually just clicks, but the other day it was really bothering me. So I decided to use an old sports mouth piece I had to avoid clenching. When I removed it, my jaw locked. When I went into the dentist, they said they wanted to do an impression so a splint could be made. It should be a few more days but then I should have the splint. I just don’t know if I can take it any longer. My articular disc is out of place and has been locked up for a couple days now. I have been taking anti-inflammatory drugs and wearing that mouth guard to help.

Is there anything else that can be done to keep my jaw from being locked? Do you know any tricks to unlock it?

– Leslie in North Carolina

Leslie,

Individuals that suffer from lock jaw have a condyle that doesn’t return to the proper position. The condyle is the head of the lower jaw and the disc that separates the skull from the condyle is the articular disc. This sounds like what is troubling you and causing your temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Sometimes this painful condition can last up to two weeks. And the most common TMJ treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs and in some cases muscle relaxers. Individuals with TMJ / TMD may do better eating soft foods if their jaw gets locked up. Heat and ice may help periodically, as well to reduce the inflammation.

The splint is a TMJ treatment that will reposition the condyle into a better position in correlation with the disc. You may notice some popping and clicking on occasion but hopefully your symptoms are noticeably improved. When the splint treatment doesn’t work, you may need to consider seeing a TMJ dentist or TMJ specialist that can explore your options. Sometimes surgery is recommended to reposition the disc for the best long-term function. There is much training that is required beyond dental school to treat this condition well, so be sure to make sure your dentist has TMJ credentials and proven treatment success.

Here are some tips to avoid increased aggravation of the TMJ and the muscles around it.

  • Relaxation exercises (yoga or meditation) work well for some.
  • Avoid gum.
  • Soft foods will help and stay away from chewy/sticky food.
  • Try not to open your mouth all the way when yawning if possible.
  • When you are awake, do not grind or clench.
  • At night, be sure to wear your splint. This is when most grinding and clenching take place. But don’t use the splint as a long-term solution because issues with bite alignment may become apparent.
  • Orthodontics may correct the alignment of teeth if this is a cause for the TMJ dysfunction.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

My porcelain veneer is broken from grinding.

I have dealt with grinding my teeth for a long time. I’ve seen a TMJ dentist that had me get a night guard. This TMJ treatment has helped a lot.

Well, several months ago, I decided I wanted to improve the look of my smile. So I went ahead and got porcelain veneers done. One night I didn’t wear my night guard and I woke up to a broken veneer. I guess it cracked while I was asleep. Do you think the dentist will replace it for me without charging me?

– Lidia in Florida

Lidia,

As far as getting the porcelain veneer replaced, it is truly up to the dentist. Since the grinding is something that you have dealt with for years, there is no obligation that the dentist must replace the veneer, from a legal perspective. But there are many cosmetic dentists or TMJ specialists that also do cosmetic dentistry that may sympathize with you. Hopefully your dentist is one of these, since it has only been a few months.

There is always a possibility that you will only pay the lab fee, as long as you agree to continue wearing your night guard. That said, it all depends on the directions your dentist gave you when the veneers were placed. If you were already warned about the cautions of forgetting to wear the night guard for your TMJ treatment, they may not feel too bad about the situation. Then again, if there was no warning about the mouth guard given, than you may be able to make a stronger case for yourself.

It also isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that the porcelain veneer that broke can be repaired. A good cosmetic dentist may be able to use dental bonding to reapply the veneer. This all depends on how and where the veneer broke and if it was a clean break. It is also extremely important to see a cosmetic dentist that has an expert skill level.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist.

My crown feels tender

It has been over a month since I had a crown placed on the upper right side of my mouth. My tooth never used to bother me but now every time I bite down on that side, it hurts. When I talked to the dentist about it, he said to just give it some time. But now my jawbone and ear feel like they are starting to hurt. Do you think this is related? Any suggestions?

– Renee in Arizona

Renee,

It could very well be that your bite has not been adjusted like it should after your crown. When you bite or chew, your teeth come together in a certain way. So if your bite is off or is misaligned, it will continually bother you until it is fixed. The jaw pain could be related to the tempro-mandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint where the upper and lower jaw meet. The TMJ operates similarly to a ball and socket and allows your jaw to open and close properly. If your teeth are not coming together properly, the muscles around the TMJ can be aggravated. If left as is, you may be at risk for developing TMJ disorder which can cause extreme pain and headaches is left untreated. Sometimes people don’t even realize the fact that they are grinding their teeth while sleeping which may be contributing to your situation. Other TMJ symptoms are clicking, ringing heard in the ears, and issues with opening and closing the joint.

Feel free to take ibuprofen as needed, up to three times a day to help with the jaw pain. Hot and cold packs alternated may also help with any jaw irritation. This should help with the increased inflammation until you can get into your dentist to get your bite adjusted.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Related link: TMJ treatment

A bad case of TMJ disorder

I have serious jaw pain from TMJ disorder and I am only in my thirties. I guess I have a terrible grinding issue because about 10 years ago, my dentist put crowns on every one of my teeth. I don’t think the work was very good because now they are worn down and my jaw hurts all the time and clicks. It seems my jaw isn’t straight anymore either, I have a crossbite and slant to deal with. The list goes on and on. My gums really aren’t in very good shape and since they were put on originally, the appearance of the crowns has darkened drastically.

I have been to a neuromuscular dentist as kind of a last resort. I just can’t take the TMJ pain any longer. Well the method of choice by the neuromuscular dentist was an orthotic. I think it actually opened up my jaw too far and moved the lower jaw forward. I honestly think I may be worse off than before seeing this dentist. So without the orthotic, my crowns are still in bad shape and now my bite is open. What do I do know? Do I see a cosmetic dentist or some other TMJ specialist? I don’t know what is more important, the functionality versus the appearance of the dental work.

Obviously my case is complex, so I’m hesitant to give a new dentist a try. Will they have any way to tell how my bite should be at this point? Hoping you can provide me some insight and a glimmer of hope.

– Annie in Rhode Island

Annie,

The neuromuscular dentist was a step in the right direction. Although, as you have found out TMJ dentists and neurmouscular TMJ treatment is not a regulated area of dentistry. So any dentist can make the claim to do this kind of work. It sounds like the dentist you may have seen may not have had the best experience or credentials in treating this painful disorder.

You should not have to compromise between function and aesthetics. There are cosmetic dentists out there that are experts in treating TMJ. You need a balanced occlusion and bite, but you should not have to sacrifice appearance. The tricky part is that by nature dentists are trained to fix things. Not every dentist is focused on doing beautiful cosmetic work. But don’t give up.

It also may be challenging to find out where your natural bite was originally. But TMJ specialists that are passionate about this area of dentistry have had success in getting patients out of pain once and for all. Keep up your search. The right dentist will spend the time with you to get this right. Don’t sacrifice when it comes to something as important as your smile.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

My dental implant bridge isn’t aligned correctly.

Hello,

I recently had some dental work done to replace four of my bottom right teeth. I ended up having a new implant bridge, using two dental implants. The problem is that when I bite down, it seems like my teeth don’t line up. What I mean by this is that the top and bottom teeth are off when my mouth is closed. Do you know if this is typical?

– Ruth from New Hampshire

Ruth,

From what you described, something is not right. Your teeth should be aligned correctly and naturally. When your mouth is closed, they should come together. If this isn’t taken care of so your bite does close properly, you may end up with TMJ disorder.

Dental implants require a lot of additional training beyond dental school, but implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty within the profession. Unfortunately, this means that any dentist can claim to be an implant dentist.

At this point, you may want to consider a second opinion. When you are researching a dentist’s credentials, there are a few organizations that will help to qualify them; the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Their involvement or any special designation, like fellowship or diplomate status is especially impressive within these prestigious organizations.

As far as what happened in your case, it is difficult to make any observation without actually seeing you in person. But it may be that they were placed incorrectly during the surgical phase. Maybe the surgery was done by one dentist, while another did the restoration? Communication can become a stumbling block when multiple dentists are involved.

Best of luck to you.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Related link: Dental implant versus dental bridge