A TMJ disorder affects the temporomandibular joint, which is located on each side of your head, in front of the ear between the lower jawbone to the skull. The temporomandibular joints are the most complex joints in the human body. The joints rotate and slide, and give the mobility needed to talk, chew, swallow, yawn and make facial expressions.
What Is a TMJ Dentist?
There is no certified specialty in medicine or dentistry for treating TMJ disorders. So, even when a dentist has extensive training in TMJ disorders, we can’t actually refer to him or her as a TMJ dentist. But Metairie dentist Dr. Duane Delaune has received post-graduate TMJ training from The Dawson Academy, and he has been treating TMJ disorders for more than 20 years.
- Ear pain, pressure or ringing in the ears
- Pain in the jaw muscles
- Limited movement of your lower jaw or jaw locking
- Painful clicking or popping in the jaw when you open or close your mouth
- Chronic headaches
- Neck, shoulder or back pain
- Tingling and numbness in your arms and fingers
- Worn or sensitive teeth
- Your bite feels out of line or “off”
Properly treating your TMJ symptoms involves identifying what may be contributing to your symptoms. This includes a careful physical examination, getting the details of your medical history, x-rays or other imaging studies and tests on your jaw muscles. Do you clench or grind your teeth? Did you experience trauma to your head, neck or jaw?
Treatment varies depending on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Sometimes, treatment involves a splint to give you a more comfortable bite, restoring the biting surfaces of your teeth or full-mouth reconstruction. Or perhaps you’ll need physical therapy for your chewing muscles or to help you with proper posture of your head and neck.