Hartford TMJ Dentist
There is no recognized specialty in TMJ dysfunction care, so there are no specialist TMJ dentists. However, Dr. Michalski has extensive post-graduate training in caring for patients with TMJ difficulties. If you suffer from TMJ pain or think you do, you should select a dentist with advanced training and experience caring for this distressing condition.
Physiology of the TMJ
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is where your lower jaw attaches to your skull. It allows both rotating and sliding movements so you can chew and speak. Within the joint is a soft, tiny disc of cartilage that absorbs shocks and prevents the bony surfaces from contacting each other.
In such a complex, delicate joint, it’s relatively easy for something to go wrong. Anything that alters your bite pattern could interfere with the TMJ’s balance. Additionally, membrane and cartilage cover the surfaces of the bones within the joint. If these tissues become damaged, such as by arthritis or trauma, the result can be severe pain.
Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction
The most common symptom of temporomandibular joint dysfunction is pain localized around the joint itself. That includes headaches, especially temporal headaches, which affect the area around your temples. In addition, you may find the muscles around your jaw spasming tightly, or maybe your whole face aches or is tender. Chewing can be particularly uncomfortable. Because TMJ disorders often occur alongside a misaligned bite pattern, you could also have pain in your teeth and even tooth wear or breaking.
Other symptoms you might experience include:
- Hearing loss
- Grinding, clicking, or popping in the joint
- Stiffness in the joint
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is often associated with TMJ dysfunction. If you grind your teeth, Dr. Michalski can help you protect your smile. He will also treat any jaw misalignment, or malocclusion. You can have issues with either or both of your temporomandibular joints.
Complications of TMJ
TMJ dysfunction and dental malocclusion can take a toll on your teeth. You might find some teeth are sensitive or show obvious wear. Sometimes serious malocclusion can loosen teeth. Dr. Michalski can protect your oral health with restorative dental care in these cases.
Dr. Michalski understands how painful TMJ dysfunction can be. A graduate of the Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Study, he has received advanced training in therapies proven to work on TMJ pain. He knows how to carefully help you improve your jaw function and relieve your discomfort.
He has also trained with the Piper Education and Research Center, so he has significant expertise in nonsurgical methods of TMJ syndrome management. For example, one option is an oral splint, which you can wear in your mouth to help guide your jaw into a healthy position. The type of splint will depend on the specific dynamics of your bite.
In cases of severe malocclusion causing damage to the teeth, Dr. Michalski can provide full mouth reconstruction for a permanent solution.