TMJ Specialist

The Woodlands Dental Group: David B. Epstein, DDS & Nikita Vakil, DMD

General Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, and Sleep Apnea Specialists located in the Woodlands, TX

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) allow you to speak, chew, and eat. Needless to say, when you have a TMJ disorder, everyday life becomes much more difficult. Thankfully, at their office in The Woodlands, Texas, expert dentist David B. Epstein, DDS is experienced in pinpointing the underlying cause of TMJ disorders and effectively treating them to relieve symptoms like facial pain. To get treatment for a TMJ disorder, call or use the online booking tool today.

TMJ Q & A

David B. Epstein, DDS & Nikita Vakil, DMD

What are the signs of a TMJ disorder?

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to your skull and works sort of like a door hinge so you can open and close your mouth.  TMJ disorders have different symptoms, but what they have in common is that they make opening and closing your mouth harder than it should be. Opening and closing your mouth is an act you perform all the time without giving it much thought, but when you have a TMJ disorder, you can’t help noticing it.

In addition to difficulty with opening and closing your mouth, facial pain is the other telltale sign of a TMJ disorder. This may take the form of:

  • Painful, tender jaw
  • Aches in your face or neck
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Ear pain, especially after you talk, chew, or yawn
  • Restricted movement in your jaw
  • Audible clicks and pops when you open or close your mouth
  • A change in the alignment of your teeth, especially the lower jaw coming forward

TMJ symptoms usually affect one side of your face but can affect both.

What causes TMJ disorders?

It’s not clear what exactly causes TMJ disorders, but certain factors put you at risk for developing them either by directly impacting your teeth, the TMJ joint itself, or the surrounding muscles that control your jaw. Common contributors to TMJ include:

  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, which may happen while you’re sleeping
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Chronic inflammatory arthritis
  • Gum chewing
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional stress, which can lead to muscle tension and jaw clenching

TMJ is more common in women than men.

What therapies are available for TMJ disorders?

Typically, TMJ disorders have a clear underlying cause and last only a few months. Dr. Epstein can help you manage and prevent the pain by guiding you on at-home therapies and lifestyle changes you can make.

If you have TMJ because you grind your teeth, they may recommend a night guard, which you wear while you sleep. It fits over either your upper or lower jaw and stops your teeth from directly rubbing against each other.

Dr. Epstein can provide guidance on good habits to reduce the strain you put on your jaw, including stress management and improving your posture. There are also gentle pain relief and relaxation exercises to manage symptoms.

If you’re having trouble opening or closing your mouth, or have unexplained facial pain, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.