If you experience discomfort in your gums or teeth, your first inclination may be to visit the dentist. It may surprise you to learn that the same inclination may also help you alleviate aches and pains in your jaw, head, neck, and shoulders. A common cause for tension and discomfort in these areas is a condition known as TMJ disorder, which affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Many people visit a doctor to try and resolve the issue. However, the condition is often misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed, due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to those of numerous other health maladies. As a dentist in Astoria, NY, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz can help diagnose TMJ disorder, and offers treatments to relieve and sometimes eliminate its debilitating symptoms.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joints are the two large joints located just in front of each ear. These joints and the muscles around them are responsible for the complex movement of your jaw. Unfortunately, there is no single root cause for the development of TMJ disorder. However, experts agree that the condition often results from over-taxation of the jaw joints and the muscles surrounding them. This undue pressure can be caused by a number of dental conditions, including malocclusion (a misalignment in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together) and bruxism (the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth). Other factors, including injury, stress, or a joint affliction such as arthritis, can also cause TMJ discomfort.
Relieve Your Aching TMJs
Treating TMJ disorder depends on the specific cause, of which there are several. If you experience TMJ discomfort, apply heat (hot water bottle, heating pad, etc.) to relieve the tense muscles and joints. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, may also relieve some of the tension. If problems persist, see Dr. Leibowitz as soon as possible. To learn more about TMJ disorder, or to schedule a dental consultation, contact Dr. Leibowitz by calling our Queens dental office at (718) 728-8320. We proudly serve patients from Astoria, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the surrounding communities.