Temporomandibular joint dysfunction can result in a wide range of painful symptoms that substantially reduce your quality of life.
The function of the jaw and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are critical components that affect your overall health and wellbeing.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Dolgos provides effective treatment for TMJ disorders at our Buffalo, NY, dental practice...
What Exactly Is TMJ Disorder? Understanding the Basics
Many patients that visit our Buffalo area dental practice are familiar with phrases such as temporomandibular joint disorders, temporomandibular disorders, TMJ disorders, or TMD, but may be left wondering what exactly is the difference between all these terms?
Simply put, they all refer to the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. In other words, TMJ disorders are a family of problems related to the function of your lower jaw.
Prioritize Your Health Contact Dr. Dolgos Today
Disorders of the temporomandibular joint can cause widespread issues that compromise your everyday life. Patients suffering from TMJ oftentimes struggle with painful headaches caused by the clenching and teeth grinding that are telltale signs of TMD.
Unlike some other doctors, Dr. Dolgos takes a holistic approach to treating this common concern. We focus on simple, easy-to-use solutions. Treatments such as occlusal splints not only provide relief for TMJ issues but can also help alleviate bruxism and minor sleep apnea.
To learn more about TMJ treatments at our Buffalo, NY, dental, contact us online or call:
Hear from Our Satisfied Patients 5-Star Google Reviews
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!!!!!!View On Google
I was so please with the entire office staff. Dr. Dolgos was very informative about my dental care options.View On Google
Choose an Experienced Practitioner
Many dental practices provide treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder, but our dentist has undergone specialized training to offer safe, conservative, and effective TMJ care.
Our team of compassionate professionals is confident we can help patients suffering from bruxism, TMJ pain, and other issues find relief without having to resort to methods like surgery.
"I Feel So Much Better!" 5-Star Google Reviews
I have had great success following Dr. Dolgos’s treatment protocol. I began as his patient in August, 2017 after a painful Spring and Summer. My jaw hurt anytime I tried to chew, yawn or open very wide. I was scared, losing weight and my condition was depressing, as it was affecting my ability to socialize with others around food. My dentist realized the problem was with my jaw and referred me to Buffalo TMJ. Dr. Dolgos was gentle, patient and compassionate about my condition, as was his staff when he did his assessment of my jaw...View Full Review On Google
I highly recommend Dr.Dolgos and his staff. They are extremely friendly,helpful and patient.A little over a year ago I broke my Jaw and had multiple facial fractures.I was very concerned about the pain, lack of sensation in my face and the lack of range my jaw could open. I thought it may be something I have to live with due to the severity of my injuries. I must say though today I feel so much better! This is from the dedication of Dr.Dolgos and his entire team...View Full Review On Google
Causes of TMJ Dysfunction
Parafunction is one of the ways your body reacts to emotional stressors in your life. The anxiety that can contribute to parafunction can be based in the past, present, or even projected out to the future. Stress, anxiety, and other intense, negative emotions can cause the jaw muscles to automatically tighten. This tightening can also squeeze the jaw joints slightly out of alignment, which can lead to an 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.
Related to parafunctional habits, bruxism is characterized by the clenching or grinding of the teeth. Many patients clench or grind their teeth on a regular basis, but few are aware of it. Bruxism is thought to be the primary determinant of degenerative joint damage, therefore, bruxism can lead to painful TMJ issues. However, not everyone who clenches their jaw or grinds their teeth will develop temporomandibular disorders. An orthotic splint such as a nightguard can minimize the TMJ damage while you work on reducing the stress that may naturally resolve the underlying 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. The team at Buffalo TMJ takes a comprehensive approach to your treatment. For patients with a compromised airway, we can develop a unique treatment plan that can address both bruxism and sleep apnea with the help of a custom oral appliance.
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. Significant trauma can be caused by a number of physical incidents from sports injuries to falls and car accidents. Any time a person's body is subjected to a significant amount of force, the resulting trauma can have a significant impact on the alignment of the spine and joints. 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 manner, Dr. Dolgos oftentimes sees changes in the affected bones of his patients in Buffalo, NY. When these musculoskeletal imbalances are directly related to the jaw, they can actually cause your face to become asymmetrical and in doing so they can also contribute to the development of TMD.
Patients may not realize how structural anomalies in their bodies can contribute to TMJ dysfunction. Many of us are born with abnormalities that can lead to TMJ issues. This can 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 normal function of the jaw and lead to unfavorable adaptive changes over time that contribute to painful TMJ disorders.
Chronic Inflammatory Disease
The more the medical community learns about inflammation, the more evidence points to the incredible impact it has on overall health and wellbeing. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis may cause the breakdown of cartilage, bones, or discs in the spine. If you have degenerative joint problems in other areas of the body, it is possible that your jaw joints may be compromised as well. This can cause patients who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases to develop a TMJ disorder over time as their condition progresses.
Abnormalities within the nervous system can lead to many symptoms affecting the TMJs. In these cases, it is necessary to rule out more common structural or functional problems before exploring TMD as a cause. If neurological damage is suspected, Dr. Dolgos will refer you to a neurologist in the Buffalo, NY, area for an evaluation before proceeding with developing a treatment plan. Our goal at Buffalo TMJ is to provide our patients with the best solution to their TMJ issues. We strive to ensure they receive the most effective care to best meet their individual needs.
Rarely, infections with pathogenic organisms can cause TMJ-like symptoms. Shingles and Lyme disease are two such conditions. As is the case with neurological issues, Dr. Dolgos will refer you to your primary care physician or an infectious disease specialist in the Buffalo area to address any underlying viral or other pathogenic infection before moving forward with TMJ treatment.
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 situations, Dr. Dolgos will recommend seeking treatment with a team experienced in pain management as the best avenue to provide relief. There are a number of options that can help in such instances including specialists in cognitive therapy, neurofeedback, acupuncture, medical pain management, and alternative healing modalities such as Reiki and Qigong.
A Holistic Approach to TMJ Disorder Treatment
It is incredibly important to choose a professional who understands the far-reaching effects of temporomandibular disorder. Dr. Dolgos has a holistic view of the health of the entire body. When developing your specific treatment plan, he will take your general health into account and not focus solely on the function of the teeth and jaw.
Without treatment, concerns related to TMD will almost always worsen. Take the first step towards a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle today. To schedule an appointment for a TMJ disorder evaluation at our Buffalo, NY, dental office, contact us online or call:
"I Had the Best Experience" Hear from More of Our Patients
I kept waking up with severe headaches and was diagnosed with TMJ. My primary doctor recommended Dr Dolgos and I could not be happier. After following his TMJ program, my headaches are gone !View On Google
I went to Buffalo TMJ after a car accident and they treated me like if I a was their patient for years. Very friendly and carying staff. Dr. Dolgos was very helpful explaining every step of the procedures and recovery. They made sure that my jaw pain was fully treated. I had the best experience with them and recommend them to everyone.View On Google
Conservative & Effective TMJ Treatment
Contrary to what many may believe, there are ways to successfully treat TMJ dysfunction. Effective TMJ treatment can be completely non-invasive as most do not involve surgery. Finding the treatment protocol that will work the best for you takes patience and therefore can be a challenge as you work your way through the therapies. These steps are important to identify the best route of action to treat your unique needs. Needles to say, this may require a certain degree of trial and error.
As part of your individualized treatment plan, Dr. Dolgos may recommend lifestyle changes along with dentistry procedures, such as custom occlusal splints, exercises, or other holistic approaches. Each temporomandibular disorder treatment plan is precisely tailored to meet your unique physiology.
Treatment for painful TMJ problems is a journey, not a destination. The path to wellness can be filled with obstacles but finding a treatment that provides relief from TMD can make all of the hard work worthwhile. Rest assured, Dr. Dolgos is here to guide you every step of the way.
Try Our TMJ "Technique of the Week"
Are You Worried about Cost? We Make Treatment Affordable & Accessible
We understand that many patients have concerns about the cost of their treatment. We are happy to file insurance claims on your behalf. And if you have out-of-pocket costs, we accept financing through CareCredit®. This means patients on virtually any budget can receive the high standard of care they deserve.
You can learn more about cost and payment options during an initial visit.
To learn how our Buffalo, NY, dentist can restore your comfort with effective TMJ treatment, contact us online or call:
Palliative or Supportive Therapy
There are many steps that patients can take on their own to find relief from temporomandibular disorders. As part of your TMD treatment plan, the lifestyle changes and other therapies that we recommend might include:
Soft Foods Diet
Hard foods can irritate an already inflamed TMJ. By shifting your diet to foods that are easier to chew, you may be able to minimize the stress on your jaw joint. Try eating foods like scrambled eggs, nutritious soups, yogurt, or mashed potatoes. By being mindful of eating slowly, you can further reduce the strain on your TMJ. If you chew gum, you should stop this habit as well.
Applying a warm compress to any painful areas can help soothe and soften the tight muscles that may contribute to your TMJ disorder. Regular warm compresses can work wonders in alleviating problematic TMD aches and pains.
Depending on the severity of your TMJ disorder, over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen can provide temporary relief of pain from acute injuries. If you still have pain in your temporomandibular joint after trying OTC medications, your doctor might be able to recommend various prescription-strength medications.
The muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints can cause pain and other related issues. If it is determined that muscle strain is contributing to your TMD, your doctor can provide medications to help relax these muscles, allowing them to recover, and in turn diminishing TMJ discomfort.
Improve your overall wellbeing and address TMD by implementing mindfulness practices such as meditation or focused breathing exercises. These exercises can minimize the physical manifestations of stress that can lead to bruxism and other painful TMJ disorders.
Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point is a "knot" in the jaw muscles that can cause TMD pain. Dr. Dolgos can locate these areas of pain affecting your TMJ and inject a mixture of anesthesia and anti-inflammatory steroids into the trigger point to break up the "knot" and relieve pain.
Injections of BOTOX® relax the muscles that cause TMD related chronic facial pain. If you have tried and experienced little success with more conservative therapy options, BOTOX injections may be able to provide the long-term relief you seek.
Also known as proliferation therapy, prolotherapy involves repeated injections of a sugar solution into part of your TMJ. Considered a complementary therapy, prolotherapy gives the best results when used in conjunction with other treatments in order to effectively reduce TMD-related pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
During Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS treatment, a small device delivers a low-voltage electric current at or near the nerves in the TMJ area to reduce pain. TENS works by stimulating the nerve cells that block the transmission of pain signals. In doing so, TENS can effectively modify your perception of pain and discomfort related to your temporomandibular joint.
An innovative process of transdermal drug delivery to ease temporomandibular joint pain, iontophoresis uses a mild electric current and water to transport anti-inflammatory medication past your skin using electrophoresis and electroosmosis.
Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) promotes a reduction in pain intensity, the number of tender points, and joint sound, and can improve the range of motion for patients with temporomandibular joint disorders. LLLT can be both an effective and efficient treatment method and even has regenerative effects.
Compassionate Dental Professionals Reach Out to Our Team Today
If you are coping with the painful and oftentimes frustrating impact of temporomandibular joint dysfunction on your life, you are not alone. Dr. Dolgos and the team at our dentistry practice offers patients a unique opportunity to address TMJ syndrome and its problematic effects for good. From stress and anxiety to muscular and skeletal issues, the contributing factors for TMJ disorders are numerous so we take a completely individualized approach to care.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment at our dental office, serving the greater Buffalo, NY, area, contact us online or call:
"I Finally Found Relief after Going to Dr. Dolgos!" Read Real Patient Reviews
I have suffered form terrible migraines related to TMJ for a long time. I finally found relief after going to Dr. Dolgos! I recently tried Botox injections for my migraines and have had amazing results! If you haveTMJ I would definitely recommend making an appointment!View On Google
I had been suffering from headaches and pain in my face, ears and temples for about 8 years. I had been to many doctors including one other TMJ specialist, none of which were able to help me alleviate the pain. I finally found Dr. Dolgos a few years ago and the change is incredible! I'm no longer in pain on a daily basis and it has improved my life like I never thought possible. I would highly recommend seeing him!View On Google
"Improved My Life So Much!" We Help Patients Just Like You
I had suffered from extreme headaches, face pain and neck pain for several years. Everyone thought it was my wisdom teeth (it was not). 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!!View On Google
I was referred to Dr. Dolgos due to a severe episode of TMJ that resulted in much jaw pain and an inability to open my mouth. After an extensive evaluation, a treatment plan was developed, which gave me hope my condition would improve in time if i adhered to it. I was given a workbook and a journal to use to help guide me during the course of this experience. It has been 3 months since I first met with Dr. Dolgos. I now can eat normally, and have almost no jaw pain. The caring, compassion, professionalism, skill level, and genuine friendliness of the staff at Buffalo TMJ deserves to be recognized. I highly recommend this practice.View On Google