TMJ Disorder Treatment
Problems with the function of the lower jaw can result in a wide range of symptoms and substantially reduced quality of life.
At Buffalo TMJ, we recognize the function of the jaw and temporomandibular joint as critical components of your entire body's health.
How does our dentist, Jeffrey M. Dolgos, provide such effective treatment for TMJ disorders at our Buffalo, NY, dental practice?
A Specialized Background & Versatile TMD Treatments
Dr. Dolgos has completed fellowship programs with the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. This high level of training and education allows him to offer the very latest treatments for temporomandibular disorders.
Highly Predictable Protocols
A local dentist, Dr. Robert S. Krull, focused on treating TMJ patients in the Buffalo, NY, area for more than 20 years. Thanks to extensive training with Dr. Krull, Dr. Dolgos is able to implement a highly predictable protocol for temporomandibular joint problems of all kinds.
A Flexible Approach to TMD
Many dentistry practices that treat temporomandibular disorders focus on very specific causes or effects of TMD, such as correcting misalignment of the teeth or preventing bruxism (teeth grinding). We look at the whole picture and offer several solutions, ranging from occlusal splints and orthotic therapy to BOTOX® injections and physical therapy.
Schedule a TMJ Consultation to Learn More
Many dentists and dental offices provide treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder, but Jeffrey M. Dolgos has undergone specialized training to offer the safest, most conservative, and most effective care. We are confident we can help patients suffering from bruxism, TMJ pain, and other symptoms find relief without surgery. We may recommend lifestyle changes along with dentistry procedures, such as custom occlusal splints, and more. Each temporomandibular disorder treatment plan is precisely tailored.
Call our Buffalo, NY, dental practice at (716) 675-5858 with any questions about TMJ or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dolgos today!
TMJ Semantics: Understanding the Basics
You might be familiar with the terms temporomandibular joint disorders, temporomandibular disorders, TMJ disorders, or TMD - but don't know what exactly any of it means. To break it down simply, TMJ dysfunction can be described as a family of problems related to the function of your lower jaw.
The bottom line is that if you have had symptoms like jaw pain, headaches, noises in your temporomandibular joints when they move, locking of your jaw, difficulty chewing or swallowing, ringing in your ears, or even vertigo, you may be dealing with a temporomandibular joint disorder.
Without treatment, concerns related to TMD will almost always worsen. It is important to seek a proper diagnosis and personalized temporomandibular disorder treatment plan.
Super Nice & Professional
"I am so happy to have my daughter and my mom coming here. Dr Dolgos and his staff are supper nice and professional. Its like a family there and your part of it....and the best thing...his treatment plans work!!!!!!" Tina Beck
Understanding Symptoms & Effects of Temporomandibular Disorders
There are many different theories about what causes temporomandibular disorders and much controversy exists about what can be done to alleviate or resolve the condition. We strive to educate you on your particular condition, pinpoint the potential cause of your TMD, and give you a clearer picture of your situation.
It is important to note that nothing on this website is intended to be individualized medical or dental advice. A comprehensive examination at our Buffalo, NY, office is very important in order to obtain a specific diagnosis and treatment plan for your particular temporomandibular joint concerns.
Initial Screening: Do You Suffer from TMD?
There are several common symptoms related to TMJ disorder problems:
- Pain in or around the ear, sometimes spreading to the face, brought on by yawning, chewing, or opening widely
- Tenderness of the jaw muscles
- Imbalanced or uncomfortable bite
- Clicking or popping noises when you open or close your mouth, or when eating certain foods
- Difficulty or pain when opening or closing your mouth
- Recurring or persistent headaches or neck-aches
- A jaw that gets stuck, locked, or “goes out”
- Pressure, fullness, or ringing in your ears
- Unexplained dizziness
Causes of TMJ Dysfunction
Parafunction is one of the ways your body reacts to emotional stressors in your life. These can be past, present, or future. Most of us clench or grind our teeth on a regular basis, but few of us are aware of it. Stress, anxiety, and other intense, negative emotions can cause the jaw muscles to automatically tighten, squeezing the teeth together. This tightening can also squeeze the jaw joints slightly out of alignment, which can lead to adaptive remodeling of the joint structures. This remodeling can, in turn, cause an increase in muscle tension, as other jaw muscles are recruited in an attempt to stabilize the joint. Parafunction (clenching or grinding the teeth) is thought to be the primary determinant of degenerative joint damage. However, not everyone who exhibits these signs will develop temporomandibular disorders and reduced stress may naturally resolve the issue.
When the nervous system detects that the body is not getting enough air, the sympathetic response (fight or flight) is activated, and teeth clenching and grinding can occur. Mounting evidence suggests that these two conditions — bruxism and sleep apnea — are closely interconnected. We cannot treat one without at least considering the other.
Trauma or Accidents
Injuries to the jaw joints, the head, the neck, or any of the surrounding muscles, can lead to painful, dysfunctional TMJs and the development of temporomandibular disorders. Whiplash-type injuries in particular frequently result in damage to the TMJs.
A misalignment of the mandible (lower jawbone) with the bones of the head can interfere with normal muscular function in the temporomandibular joints. When muscles pull on bones in an imbalanced way, we can literally see changes in those bones. Musculoskeletal imbalance related to the jaw can actually cause your face to become asymmetrical and contribute to the development of TMD.
These types of TMJ issues include displaced discs, an uneven bite, missing teeth, asymmetrical growth of the upper or lower jaw, and size discrepancies between the jaws. Any of these abnormalities can impede the function of the jaws, lead to unfavorable adaptive changes, and contribute to TMJ disorders.
Chronic Inflammatory Disease
Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis may cause the breakdown of bones or discs. If you have degenerative joint problems in other areas of the body, it is possible that your jaw joints may be compromised as well and you will develop a TMJ disorder over time.
Abnormalities within your nervous system can lead to many symptoms affecting the TMJs. In these cases, it is normally necessary to rule out more common structural or functional problems before exploring TMD as a cause. If neurological damage is suspected, you will be referred to a neurologist for evaluation.
Rarely, infections with pathogenic organisms can cause TMJ-like symptoms. Shingles and Lyme disease are two such conditions. Referral to your primary care physician, or an infectious disease specialist in greater Buffalo, NY, is necessary if this is suspected.
In rare cases, there are times when we cannot determine a physical cause of the symptoms but are able to rule out TMJ disorders. In these cases, management by a team experienced in pain management can be helpful, including specialists in cognitive therapy, neurofeedback, acupuncture, medical pain management, and alternative healing modalities such as Reiki and Qigong.
Improved my life so much!!
"I had suffered from extreme headaches, face pain and neck pain for several years. After going through treatment with Buffalo TMJ and receiving my jaw appliance I have had little to no pain ever since. Now I only need to wear it maybe every few months when I feel a little pain, and it goes away the next day. Has improved my life so much!!" Kim Preischel
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Take the First Step Towards Restoring Your Health
Living with temporomandibular disorders can take a substantial toll on your quality of life. Our dentistry practice takes a unique approach to the problem: we believe the temporomandibular joint is a critical body part and that its health and function are vitally important. By focusing on the health of your entire body, we provide effective and lasting solutions to bruxism, head and neck pain, and other effects of TMD.
Learn more about how our dentist can restore your comfort by calling (716) 675-5858 or scheduling an appointment at our dental practice online.
TMJ Treatment: Conservative & Effective Solutions
Contrary to what many people believe, there are many ways to successfully treat TMJ dysfunction and most do not involve surgery. Finding the treatment protocol that will work the best for you can be a challenge, and may require some degree of trial and error. Treatment of these sorts of TMJ problems is a journey, not a destination, and the path to wellness can be filled with obstacles. Rest assured that Dr. Dolgos will be there to guide you every step of the way.
Treatment modalities for temporomandibular joint dysfunction can be generally broken out based on category:
Palliative or Supportive Therapy
These tips and procedures are intended to reduce discomfort in the TMJs and throughout the body:
- Soft diet – slowly, and mindfully, eat foods that are very easy to chew
- Moist heat – soothes and softens tight muscles contributing to TMJ disorders
- Anti-inflammatory medications – for temporary relief of pain from acute injuries contributing to TMD
- Muscle relaxants – these medications help determine if the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints are the cause of pain and more
- Mindfulness training – this involves learning how to better manage the stressors in your life and may include meditation
- Trigger point injections – immediately release tension in trigger points in and near the temporomandibular joints
- BOTOX injections – this can be helpful to relax and reshape muscles that are hyperactive
- Prolotherapy – a sugar solution is injected into the joint to help initiate a healing response
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – used primarily for pain control
- Iontophoresis – for the temporary reduction of inflammation
- Laser biostimulation – a wonderfully comfortable treatment that can have long-lasting anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and pain-relieving effects
Restorative & Corrective Treatments
- Regular range of motion stretches and exercises
- Correction of dysfunctional patterns of movement
- Physical therapy
- Orthotic therapy (dental splints and similar solutions)
- Occlusal equilibration
- Orthodontic treatment
- Occlusal rehabilitation (dental crowns, bridges, etc.)
"Very thorough and professional. Would recommend in a heart beat" Sandy Johny Dowdall