Also Serving Seattle
Are you suffering from TMJ pain in Bellevue? Dr. Lynn A. Jones is an accomplished general and cosmetic dentist in the Seattle & Bellevue area who specializes in providing relief to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) patients and relieve symptoms like headaches, jaw pain, clicking jaw and difficulty chewing food.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is short for “Temporomandibular Joint Disorder” is a structural disorder that affects the hinged jaw joint that connects your jaw to the surrounding muscles, and to the skull itself. Patients suffering from TMJ often experience pain and discomfort caused by the misalignment of the jaw, including difficulty chewing or speaking, swelling, toothaches, hearing problems and mild to severe headaches.
Dr. Jones holds extensive expertise in the jaw and the temporomandibular joint disorders, and lends her knowledge to every TMJ treatment procedure to ensure patients experience relief from TMJ symptoms and improve their health.
Headaches are very common, but the intensity and frequency of headaches associated with TMJ are more severe and can lead to a reduced quality of life. The pain related to TMJ can be both chronic and debilitating, which is why many patients seek medical treatment.
Dr. Jones takes pride in freeing patients from headaches and other discomforts with an individually tailored TMJ treatment plan. She works in conjunction with patients’ dental insurance companies to ensure the treatments her patients need are affordable and available to everyone.
Treating TMJ Disorder
When patients enter Dr. Jones’ office citing headaches or pain in the face and jaw, she administers tests to determine if patients suffer from malocclusion, also known as bad bite. She may also create a mold impression of patients’ bites to study the jaw movement and joint closure in great detail. Dr. Jones may also request X-rays and other dental exams. Using this information, Dr. Jones determines the cause of the headache or TMJ disorder, and develops a personalized approach to treat the condition.
Depending on the extent of the TMJ disorder, Dr. Jones may recommend patients receive tooth restoration for deteriorating teeth that are severely impacting the patient’s bite, which can include dental implants. In other instances, she may give her TMJ patients a dental appliance, such as a mouthguard, deprogrammer, or NTI to relieve the pain and also prevent tooth grinding and clenching, and thereby easing the development of worn teeth that contribute to TMJ disorder. As an experienced Seattle TMJ treatment specialist, Dr. Jones may also include orthodontics to correct crooked teeth that place stress on the jaw. She also offers physical therapy treatments for stress management and medications to ease the discomfort that TMJ disorder patient’s experience.
Dr. Jones understands that patients may experience apprehension or dental anxiety when undergoing treatment for TMJ in the Seattle / Bellevue area, which is why she offers conscious sedation dentistry — a relaxing and comforting dentistry technique that puts patients at ease during their procedure.
One of the latest advancements in TMJ treatment includes Botox injections, a practice Dr. Jones is proud to incorporate into her treatment options. TMJ treatment with Botox injections inserts small amounts of Botox into the muscles that move the jaw, blocking certain nerve signals and easing muscle tension in the jaw.
In severe cases if patients fail to respond properly to the aforementioned treatments, she may suggest a surgical procedure, such as arthrocentesis, arthroscopy or open-joint surgery. These surgical treatments reshape joint tissue and reposition the disc in the joint hinge.
Recovery after TMJ Treatment
Because each TMJ treatment plan is unique to reflect a patient’s individual condition, recovering from TMJ treatment varies. Some patients are able to return to their daily activities within a few days, while others need one to two weeks of rest before returning to work. After undergoing TMJ treatment with Dr. Jones, she gives patients a detailed outline of post-treatment care to ensure patients can recover quickly with optimal results.
What is TMD?
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD) is caused by chronic stress on the temporomandibular joint, jaw muscles and nerves on one or both sides of the head.
What causes TMD?
TMD can be caused by several issues including:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Teeth clenching
- A misaligned bite
- Dental work
- Traumatic injury to the area
- Inflammation related to illness (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis)
- Chronic stress
What are the symptoms of TMD?
Symptoms vary from patient to patient and range from mild to severe. Typical symptoms include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness throughout the jaw, face, head, neck and shoulders
- Locked jaw
- Popping or clicking noise when opening and closing the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Misaligned bite
- Swelling on one or both sides of the face
- Toothaches, earaches and/or neck aches
- Tinnitus (i.e., a ringing in the ears)
- Sinus pain
How can TMD be prevented?
There are several ways to prevent TMD or reduce symptoms. Dr. Jones recommends patients with TMD symptoms avoid eating foods that are hard to chew that can potentially cause jaw pain. Correcting one’s posture can also help as poor posture can put a strain on the neck, back and facial muscles. Mouth and jaw exercises and minimizing stress levels can also alleviate TMD symptoms.
How is TMD diagnosed?
First, Dr. Jones will carefully examine the patient’s jaw and mouth. She may also create a mold impression of the patient’s bite to examine jaw movement and joint closure. Dr. Jones may also take X-rays and perform other dental exams to get an accurate idea of the cause and extent of the TMJ pain. Using this information, Dr. Jones will design a treatment plan that addresses the patient’s TMD symptoms.
What are my treatment options?
The right treatment option for you will depend on your symptoms and the severity of your TMD case. Dr. Jones offers several treatment options including:
- Dental work to treat deteriorating teeth that are severely impacting the patient’s bite
- Oral appliances such as a mouth guard or deprogrammer to relieve the pain and prevent tooth grinding and clenching
- Orthodontics to correct crooked teeth that place stress on the jaw
- Physical therapy for stress management
- Medication for jaw pain
Why should I choose Dr. Jones for TMD treatment?
With decades of experience treating patients in the Seattle and Bellevue areas, Dr. Jones is the trusted choice for TMD pain relief. Dr. Jones understands there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to TMD treatment and utilizes the most advanced diagnostic tools and methods to create individualized treatment plans for each patient. From diagnosis to treatment, Dr. Jones and her staff will provide quality care so you can live a happy and healthy life — free from TMJ pain.