About TMJ Disorders – Stamford, CT

TMJ Disorders

To begin, TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint” – which is your jaw joint. Each of us have two – a right and a left. A TMJ Disorder (sometimes called TMJ syndrome) is a medical condition relating to the function of one (or both) of your jaw joints.

TMJ Disorder symptoms may include:

  • clicking and/or popping in the jaw joint often accompanied by joint pain or surrounding muscle pain
  • jaw stiffness
  • a jaw that locks into position, open or closed, and is difficult or painful to open or close
  • inability to open your mouth wide
  • upper and lower teeth not fitting/meshing together correctly
  • swelling of the face
  • numbness in the face
  • headache
  • ringing in the ears
  • pain in the face, shoulders, neck, or around the ear when you open, close, or move your mouth
It is important to note that TMJ can occur in one or both sides of your face. Some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions – which is why early detection and treatment are important!

Dr. Joseph Sciarrino of the Strawberry Hill Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center has spent three decades specializing in the treatment of TMJ Disorders.

If experience matters, as of course it should, kindly phone us today at (203) 967-3707 to set up a consultation. Or, if after hours, kindly CLICK HERE and complete our simple form.

TMJ Disorders:

  • Myogenous disorders (originating in muscle tissue) are the most common, accounting for over 80% of total TMJ disorders, and involve muscle-related pain. Symptoms include discomfort in the jaw, temple, neck or shoulder muscles – especially upon waking.
  • Myofascial pain – typically caused by injury or repetitive motions (jaw muscles have been contracted repetitively) in jobs or hobbies, or by stress-related muscle tension.
  • Joint generated pain cause by Internal derangement or dislocation of some component within the jaw, or a displaced disc within the TMJ, or injury to the condyles, (rounded ends of the lower jaw that fits into the jaw joint).
  • A degenerative joint disease (such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) which affects the cartilage surrounding the jaw joint.

Each of the above requires a different (and specific) treatment. While symptoms are often similar, only a thorough examination utilizing 3D Imaging will allow us to diagnose your particular disorder. We can then personalize a treatment plan designed to ensure an optimally functional outcome, with maximum aesthetic results. Dr. Joseph Sciarrino is a highly specialized and skilled surgeon specializing in the treatment of TMJ Disorders.

i-CAT Precise 3D Dental Imaging

Causes of TMJ Disorders and the Link to Stress

In a minority of cases, TMJ problems are caused by an impact to the face, or arthritis of the jaw joint. More commonly, TMJ pain is linked to genetic predisposition and stress.  High stress professions (lawyers, physicians, CEO’s, traders, etc.) are at a higher risk of developing a TMJ Disorder. Said stress can lead to teeth clenching and grinding, and associated head, neck and/or shoulder pain. In a small percentage of cases (less than 5%), TMJ appears to occur as a result of a problem with a patient’s bite or occlusion – possibly a result of teeth growing into a suboptimal position (affecting the bite), or as a result of braces or orthodontics. TMJ pain is roughly four times more common in women than it is in men.

Diagnosis of TMJ Disorders

We typically diagnose TMJ Disorders by performing a thorough and detailed examination, which will likely include a 3D scan of your jaw joints. We will look for evidence of TMD on your teeth, gums and tongue. We may measure the range of motion of your lower jaw. In addition, we may palpate the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders to determine levels of tenderness.

Treatment of Low Level, Sporadic TMJ Problems

TMJ pain can sometimes be sporadic. For those who infrequently experience jaw joint problems, pain can disappear without any treatment. When stress has been the catalyst, stress management (meditation, yoga, gentle stretching and massaging of the jaw joint muscles, etc.) may be the indicated self-care that can help you eliminate stress-related TMJ pain. Once stress diminishes, often teeth grinding and clenching follow suit. If you fall into this category, you should avoid chewing gum and opening your mouth excessively wide. The application of heat or ice packs may also help lessen TMJ pain.

Other TMJ Treatments

Once a thorough and detailed examination confirms a diagnosis of a TMJ disorder, we can determine the proper course of treatment. There are various treatment options we can utilize to improve the function and symmetry of your jaw. You may require bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics (with or without jaw reconstruction), or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and “open joint repair restructuring,” are sometimes required, but are typically reserved only for severe cases.

Do you have a TMJ Disorder?

  • Do you grind or clench your teeth?
  • Does pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, or lock when attempt to open or close your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open or close your mouth?
  • Are your teeth misaligned? (bite problems)
  • Is it difficult or painful to use your front teeth when biting or tearing food?
  • Do you have, or do you wake up with sore and/or stiff jaw muscles?
  • Have you ever sustained injury to your head, neck or jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches – or neck aches?
  • Do you have issues with any other joints in your body, (including arthritis).

The more times you answer “yes” to any of the above, the more likely it is you have a TMJ disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with TMJ-related pain, please contact our team immediately to schedule an appointment. Kindly phone us at (203) 967-3707 to schedule. If after hours, CLICK HERE and complete our simple form.

Our mission is to deliver our patients the highest quality by:

  • Taking sufficient time in consultation to understand our patients' concerns and goals.
  • Tailoring an individual care plan to meet their goals, and educating them regarding their proposed treatment.
  • Being available to our patients before and after surgery, and whenever the need may arise.

The Strawberry Hill Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center is conveniently located in Stamford, Connecticut. Our friendly staff will be here to help you every step of the way; and our rates are competitive with no hidden fees.

Strawberry Hill Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center Team

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