When patients are experincing jaw or facial pain, a jaw specialist like Dr. Wolford is best at evaluating you for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The jaw must be capable of movement necessary for chewing, speaking and even breathing. Understandably, the jaw has complex structures that facilitate all of this movement. Indeed, the jaw is composed of many components, including bones and muscles, and if even one of those parts is out of whack, a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can develop. Indeed, the jaw is composed of many components, including bones and muscles, and if even one of those parts is out of whack, a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can develop.
Many patients will show some signs of a TMJ disorder, most often jaw or facial pain, as well as popping and clicking sounds coming from the jaw or problems with the jaw locking. TMJ can even result in headaches and earaches. If you have any of these symptoms, and they continue to persist, you may need to consult with a TMJ specialist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
The TMJ specialist will thoroughly examine your jaw and take x-rays to determine what is causing your jaw pain.
Based on the results of that examination, the TMJ specialist will develop a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms.
Sometimes the recommended course of action involves non-invasive treatments, such as self-massage and pain management with over-the-counter medications. Stress can exacerbate TMJ-related pain; so stress management techniques like meditation may also be effective in reducing TMJ symptoms.
For some patients, especially those with congenital or developmental jaw abnormalities, a surgical intervention may be warranted to address the TMJ disorder. This may involve correcting a malocclusion that occurred due to the growth patterns in the jaw. Patients may also need a treatment that focuses on stabilizing the disk in the jaw, if that is determined to be the source of pain.
Patients with significantly advanced TMJ disorders may need to pursue a total joint replacement if other treatments are ineffective.
Consulting with an experienced specialist will be your first step in determining whether your jaw pain is caused by a TMJ disorder, and after you have a diagnosis, the specialist can develop a plan to effectively treat the issue. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Larry Wolford's office using our online contact form or call 214-828-9115.