Dentists are very much aware of the many symptoms of TMJ disorders. The TMJ—temporomandibular joint—is the highly complex sliding joint on which the lower jaw hinges. Most patients, at some time in their lives, suffer pain arising from this joint. The causes for the pain are many and varied and the symptoms equally so, often affecting the entire head and neck region. Dr. Alfredo Gapuz of Aesthetic and General Dentistry in Orlando, FL, is specially trained and equipped to treat this condition. He uses leading-edge diagnostic technology and a wide variety of therapeutic procedures to thoroughly evaluate and successfully manage those patients with temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
What are the Symptoms of TMD?
There are many symptoms that can be traced back to TMD, and they do not always involve just the TMJ itself. They can include the obvious, such as pain in the joint; difficulty in opening and closing the jaw; pain while chewing; grinding, clicking or popping of the joint (crepitus) when opening and closing; and limited jaw opening.
Because TMJ-related symptoms can vary so greatly, they are often misdiagnosed. Only a specially trained dentist can adequately evaluate the many signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.
Other symptoms may be less obvious. These include an earache that can mimic an ear infection, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears), dizziness or vertigo, moderate to severe headache that can be misdiagnosed as a migraine, an aching sensation around the face, and stiffness and tenderness in the neck and upper back. It should be emphasized that many of these symptoms can be indicative of more serious medical conditions, so it is important to establish an accurate diagnosis without undue delay.
What Do These Symptoms Mean?
Determining the exact cause or causes of TMJ pain can be challenging, but it is the key to successful treatment. To arrive at a precise diagnosis, Dr. Gapuz, who is a graduate of the highly regarded Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, will conduct a thorough head and neck examination. He then takes into consideration his findings, along with the subjective symptoms that the patient describes. Using his specialized knowledge in neuromuscular dentistry, he can then determine the reasons for the patient's TMJ pain.
The source of TMJ pain can be highly complex, but it usually arises from a combination of causes overlapping one another. Some of the causative factors can include such things as malocclusion (uneven bite), injury to the joint resulting from trauma, grinding of the teeth, hyperextension of the jaw, genetic deformities in the joint area, and arthritis. These can be further compounded by contributing psychological factors, such as patient stress. Dr. Gapuz will consider all possible factors, and once he has collected the necessary information, he will formulate a comprehensive treatment plan to fit the patient's specific needs.
Because TMJ-related symptoms can vary so greatly, they are often misdiagnosed. Only a specially trained dentist can adequately evaluate the many signs and symptoms associated with TMJ disorders and formulate an effective treatment plan.
Alleviate TMD-Associated Pain
Those patients suffering persistent TMJ pain, jaw tenderness, inability to open and close the mouth, or any of the other symptoms described here are encouraged to contact Dr. Gapuz at Aesthetic and General Dentistry. He will put his specialized skills and the latest technology to work to eliminate the pain and its cause. Patients can contact Dr. Gapuz' office online or call (407) 871-6798 to schedule a consultation.