Have you been experiencing jaw pain, headaches, neck aches, earaches and teeth sensitivity issues? Are you frequently finding it difficult to close and open your mouth too? If so, you could be suffering from what’s known as temporomandibular disease (TMD). It is a condition that impacts the lives of millions. The good news is there are TMD treatment options available.
TMJ treatment at Princeton Prosthodontics, near New Jersey, can help relieve the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint problems. More than 10 million Americans suffer from some form of TMJ, yet the treatment of TMJ remains an area of dentistry that is commonly misunderstood. Through extended training, Dr. Michael Cortese is uniquely qualified to treat TMJ at his New Jersey-area dentistry practice. Dr. Cortese will conduct a thorough examination to determine the cause of your TMD. Once he’s identified its origin, he’ll recommend a TMD treatment.
Dr. Cortese is the renaissance doctor of the Tri-State area. His knowledge of the etiology and co-therapeutic treatment of TMD/Sleep Apnea, crossing into medicine is on target. He utilizes the evidence-based and hands-on training he has received, which positions him as a pivotal health care practitioner, interlacing medicine and dentistry to extend the length and quality of patients’ lives.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the most complex joint system in the body, anchoring the lower jawbone to the skull and allowing the lower jaw to rotate and slide. Restricted bite and muscles, along with this unorthodox motion, can make the jaw joint prone to temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Symptoms of TMJ and TMD can include:
- Clicking jaw
- Pain in the face
- Ear pain
- Tired or stiff facial muscles
- Shoulder and neck pain
In some instances, an occlusal orthotic TMD prostheses will alleviate the problem. Each prostheses is specifically designed by Dr. Cortese for the specific circumstances of each individual patient, and allows the jaw muscles to relax and prevents teeth grinding and bruxism. The prostheses are also sometimes combined with other TMD treatments. The list of treatments sometimes paired with occlusal orthotic TMD prostheses includes physical therapy, adopting a mechanical soft or pureed diet and using medications. The medications are prescription muscle relaxants and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.
In severe cases of TMD, patients may opt to choose additional treatments. The list of additional treatments includes, but is not limited to, TENS therapy, acupuncture, trigger point injections, ultrasound therapy and surgery. The type of surgery needed will depend on the individual’s unique situation. However, two of the more common used surgeries are open joint and arthroscopy. They are often used when tumors and major disk problems are involved. Both are serious undertakings. As such, they are typically used as a last resort.
Treatment for Bruxism and Teeth Grinding
One of the most common causes of a TMD is bruxism, or teeth grinding. This places extreme pressure on the teeth and on the TMJ, causing a number of the above-mentioned TMD symptoms. During each patient’s bi-annual exam, Dr. Cortese checks for the physical signs of bruxism and can use bruxism therapy to help break bad habits and to teach patients how to properly rest their tongue, teeth, and lips.
In many cases, a plastic aligner (similar to a sports mouth guard) can be fitted to help absorb some of the force of bruxism and to help patients to rest their mouth in a healthier position.
We Save Lives and Continually Improve Our Patients’ Overall Health
Dr. Cortese works with local medical and dental specialists improving the overall health of his patients. Since bruxism is so highly correlated with sleep-disordered breathing, patients are screened for bruxism and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Their bruxism is measured and, when necessary, patients are referred to certified area sleep specialists for diagnosis of OSA/sleep apnea, a condition that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Oral Sleep Apnea Prostheses
Because research continues to grow concerning sleep apnea and its contribution to heart disease and stroke, the team at Princeton Prosthodontics screens our patients and saves lives every day. After our local certified sleep physician diagnoses our patients with mild to moderate OSA, patients return to Dr. Cortese for custom-designed oral prosthesis therapy and, in conjunction with the sleep certified specialist, their OSA is measured and monitored before and after delivery of the oral prosthesis. Over time, the patient’s progress is further monitored and adjusted as necessary to ensure OSA is no longer present. The gold standard for treating for OSA is a CPAP machine; however, even patients with severe OSA can be treated with oral prostheses therapy if they are unable to tolerate the CPAP apparatus. All patients are monitored and tested before, after and during therapy to ensure their OSA is as controlled as possible.
If you suffer from TMJ or TMD, you know that the disorder causes jaw clicking, pain, and stiffness. Did you also know that TMJ can lead to permanent damage to your jaw joint, teeth, and gums? If you suffer from TMJ and live near Mercerville or New Jersey, you owe it to yourself and to your smile to schedule a TMJ treatment consultation at Princeton Prosthodontics. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cortese.