Lately, I’ve been having some pretty bad pain in my jaw and it is sometimes popping when I chew. I’m worried I have TMJ. Is there a way to know or is there something else wrong? If I do have TMJ, what’s the solution?
It does sound like you have a symptom of TMJ Disorder. I’m going to list out some more symptoms because all of these different signs put together can help the dentist know what is the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder in able to find the most conservative solution for you.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- popping when chewing
- Your jaw locks up
- migraines, especially in the morning
- pain in your jaw
Often, people develop TMJ from teeth grinding or clenching. They don’t even realize they are doing it because it more often happens at night while they are sleeping.
Some evidence if you are doing this is tooth pain (unrelated to decay) and worn down teeth. If you see a dentist regularly, they should be warning you if they see your teeth showing signs of wear.
Other times TMJ disorder is caused by a misaligned bite which has to be repaired by orthodontics, such as Invisalign.
Finding a TMJ Dentist
There isn’t a recognized specialty in TMJ so any general dentist can call themselves a TMJ Dentist. However, you want to make sure they have the necessary training to diagnose and treat you correctly. It does take an investment in post-doctoral training. There isn’t enough training for it in general dental school.
For instance, if you look at Dr. Hadgis’ TMJ Specialist page, you can see he did extensive training with the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). There are other good schools as well, such as The Dawson Academy and the Kois Center.
It’s imperative they have invested in this. We’ve seen too many horror stories where dentists who didn’t have the requisite training, ended up destroying someone’s bite, causing them to need a full-mouth reconstruction.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.