We at Loeb Orthodontics are passionate about providing professional orthodontic treatment to the families of Oakland, Franklin Lakes, Wayne, and Wyckoff, NJ. We believe that all of our patients deserve the best treatment available, which is why we utilize only the most advanced orthodontic technology possible, and work with our patients to create personalized treatment plans that meet your needs.

In addition to offering a variety of orthodontic treatments including Invisalign, clear braces, and lingual braces, Dr. Allison Loeb, Dr. Robert Loeb, and our professional orthodontic team are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD, ensuring that our patients have healthy, pain-free smiles.

If you have any questions about TMJ/TMD treatment, or would like to schedule an appointment at our local Oakland, NJ orthodontic office, please contact us or fill out our online appointment request form.

What is the Difference Between TMJ & TMD?

If you experience ongoing pain in the area near your ear, your jaw or the muscles on the side of your face, possibly accompanied by a clicking or popping sound or restricted jaw movement, you may be suffering from TMD — an abbreviation for Temporomandibular Disorder. Sometimes people incorrectly use the term TMJ to refer to these problems, when, in fact, TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint — or jaw joint — itself. So while you definitely have a TMJ (two of them, in fact), you may or may not have TMD

TMD, then, describes a group of conditions characterized by pain and dysfunction of the TMJ and/or the muscles surrounding it. It's not always so easy to figure out exactly what's causing these symptoms, but the good news is that most TMD cases resolve themselves with the help of conservative remedies. In fact, it's important to exhaust all such reversible remedies before moving on to anything irreversible, such as surgery.

The two TMJs that connect your lower jaw, the mandible, to the temporal bone of the skull on either side, are actually very complex joints that allow movement in three dimensions. The lower jaw and temporal bone fit together as a ball and socket, with a cushioning disk in between. Large pairs of muscles in the cheeks and temples move the lower jaw. Any of these parts — the disk, the muscles or the joint itself — can become the source of a TMD problem. If you are in pain, or are having difficulty opening or closing your jaw, our Wyckoff NJ orthodontists will do a thorough examination to try to pinpoint the problem area and suggest appropriate remedies.

What Causes TMD?

sore muscles, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk problems. We also know that TMD is influenced by genes, gender (women appear to be more prone to it), and age. Physical and psychological stress is commonly a factor, as most TMD problems occur in persons who either clench or grind their teeth excessively while asleep. In some cases, jaw/joint pain may be related to trauma or to a more widespread medical condition, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of TMD?

Clicking Sounds — Some people with TMD hear a clicking, popping or grating sound coming from the TMJ when opening or closing the mouth. This is usually caused by a shifting of the disk inside the joint. Someone standing next to you might even be able to hear it. Clicking by itself is actually not a significant symptom, because studies show that one third of all people have jaw joints that click. However, if the clicking is accompanied by pain or limited jaw function — the jaw getting “stuck” in an open or closed position, for example — this would indicate TMD.

Muscle Pain — This can be felt in the cheeks and temples, where the large chewing muscles are located. If you feel soreness and stiffness in these muscles upon waking up in the morning, it is often related to clenching and/or grinding the teeth at night. Generally, a night guard or occlusal guard appliance can be custom-made for you, allowing your muscles to relax and relieve the pressure on the joints.

Joint Pain — Pain that's actually coming from one or both jaw joints technically would be described as Joint Pain - Pain that's actually coming from one or both jaw joints technically would be described as arthritis ("arth" - joint; "itis" - inflammation) of TMJ. When we look at radiographs (x-ray pictures) we find that some people have arthritic-looking TMJs but no symptoms of pain ordysfunction; others have significant symptoms of pain and dysfunction but their joints look normal on radiographs. There is no cure for arthritis anywhere in the body, but medication can sometimes help relieve arthritic symptoms.

Let Loeb Orthodontics Treat the Pain

Once our doctors examine you, we will come up with a strategy for treating your condition and managing your discomfort. Usually, a splint appliance (night guard or occlusal guard) is indicated, and may be accompanied by recommended dietary changes, heat or cold applications, medications or muscle exercises.

Exploring Treatment Options

Severe TMD cases may require more complex forms of treatment, which might include orthodontics, dental restorations like bridgework, or minor procedures inside the joint such as cortisone injections or lavage (flushing) of the joint. It's rare for major surgery ever to be necessary in a case of TMD. Again, it's important to try the wide range of conservative, reversible treatments available, and give them enough time to work, as they almost always prove effective. The first step is an examination here at our orthodontic office in Oakland, NJ. To learn more about the treatment options available, view our Chart on TMD Therapy.

Schedule An Appointment Today!

If you are suffering from TMJ or TMD pain, schedule your appointment with your Loeb Orthodontics today and we will help get you on the path to finding relief. If you wish to review your treatment options in more detail, or have questions regarding TMJ/TMD care, contact our office and our friendly & professional orthodontic staff will be happy to help you get the information you need. We proudly serve the families of Oakland, Wayne, Wyckoff, Franklin Lakes, and the surrounding areas.