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TMJ Disorder Expert Answers Top 10 Googled Questions

By December 22, 2023TMJ Disorder
human skull closeup on TMJ TMD

Your jaw constantly feels overworked, tired, strained, and sore. It may click or pop when you open and close your mouth. Your jaws may lock, fingers may tingle, ears may ring, and your head may throb and ache. Maybe you even experience migraines. What the heck is going on? You, like 10 million others in America, may have TMJ disorder, also known as TMD.

Have you googled your symptoms? Do you know if the answers you read are from an expert or novice? In today’s blog, Dr. Mickiewicz answers the top 10 questions Google users search for, so you’ll have expert answers to TMJ disorder questions, rather than a non-professional’s or patients’ answers that may not be completely accurate. 

Who is Dr. Mick?

In Sacramento, Timothy Mickiewicz, DDS, is double certified by the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders and the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. He has studied temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) in depth and provided non-surgical treatment to hundreds of patients. 

By collaborating with like-minded physicians and dentists, and taking double the continuing education required by the State of California, “Dr. Mick” has developed what he considers to be the best treatment modalities medicine has to offer TMJ disorder patients. His office is staffed by professionals who understand not only TMJ/TMD, but also pain management. Their compassionate care makes patients feel respected and confident about achieving results.

After reading this blog, if you would like to talk with Dr. Mick, contact the office of Timothy E. Mickiewicz, DDS, in Sacramento, CA, by calling 916-469-9178.

Top 10 TMJ Disorder Questions & Answers

What does a TMJ flare-up feel like?

Pain presents differently in people, and a TMJ disorder flare-up feels different depending upon the underlying causes and severity of the condition. Many people experience these recurring symptoms on one or both sides of the head for a few days to a few weeks during a flare-up:

  • Tenderness or pain in the jaw, face, head, shoulders
  • Earaches or tinnitus (ringing ears), ear pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Toothaches in molars
  • Clicking jaws and/or pain when chewing or opening/closing the mouth
  • Locking jaws
  • Tingling in fingers
  • Change in the way upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is shut (malocclusion or a bad bite)

What triggers a TMJ flare-up?

Stress and anxiety, poor posture, chewing on hard or tough foods or items, chewing gum, insufficient hydration, and hormone changes are common causes of TMJ flare-ups. Sometimes, you won’t know why jaw pain flares up. 

Can TMJ disorder be cured?

Actually, yes! First, a doctor needs to assess the jaw joint with manual manipulation, as well as radiography (X-rays or 3D imaging). When the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder is identified, it can be addressed to permanently relieve painful, nagging, and sometimes debilitating symptoms.

How is TMJ corrected?

Oftentimes TMJ disorder stems from a dental issue: malocclusion. When upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly, the jaw joints and muscles never rest. As a result, they hurt and may tremble, especially when you sleep. This trembling presents as teeth clenching and grinding, called bruxism. By repairing worn teeth and building them up with crowns, proper occlusion may be re-established. Treating the underlying problem delivers a cure.

Dr. Mick offers dental treatment for curing TMJ disorder, but he also offers BOTOX injections. In some cases, surgery is necessary to provide long-term relief.

What other conditions mimic TMJ disorder?

Stress, migraines, earaches, and toothaches can be caused by conditions other than TMJ disorder. Patients with chronic sinusitis may suspect TMJ disorder. The only way to diagnose TMJ disorder is through the assessment of a medical professional. 

Can neurological disorders cause TMJ disorder?

Patients with Parkinson’s, Tourette’s syndrome, Torticolli, or Dystonia may develop TMJ problems. At present, research shows a cycle: TMD may contribute to some of these conditions, and these conditions may trigger TMD. TMJ disorder is also common in MS and Ehler’s Danlos patients. Autoimmune and connective tissue disorders can trigger TMD, as well. 

Furthermore, the TMJs are close to the trigeminal nerve, and when TMJ disorder flares up, patients may experience pain in other parts of their body. Tremors or tics can arise because the trigeminal nerve is inflamed or irritated.

Can anxiety cause TMJ issues?

Stress and anxiety can cause TMJ issues. These conditions may lead to nighttime teeth grinding and clenching, called bruxism. Over time, bruxism wears down molars and the patient’s upper and lower teeth no longer fit together properly when the mouth is closed. This is called malocclusion or a bad bite. Dr. Mick rebuilds molars, restores good occlusion, and relieves the pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder. 

What will happen if TMJ is not treated?

As a progressive condition, TMJ disorder can worsen with time if it’s not treated. Symptoms become more acute, and pain can extend across the face, neck, and shoulders. The pain becomes chronic if it lasts more than three months. 

Which doctors treat TMJ disorder?

Neurologists sometimes see patients with TMJ disorder, but usually, physicians recommend seeing a dentist. Dr. Mick’s training, reputation, and passion for pain management make him an expert in the field of TMJ disorder.  

What are the four stages of TMJ disorder?

  1. Disc displacement with reduction (DDWR)
  2. Disc displacement with reduction and inconsistent jaw-locking
  3. Disc displacement without reduction (closed lock)
  4. Disc displacement without reduction, plus disc perforation or degenerative joint disease

At your consultation, Dr. Mick can explain the terminology that describes these stages. TMJ disorder is a progressive condition that requires treatment by a medical/dental professional. 

Schedule Your TMJ Evaluation

If you live near or can travel to Sacramento, schedule a consultation with Dr. Mick. He’ll conduct a thorough assessment with radiographs and explain the best treatment plan for your particular case. Treatment will bring relief! Call Dr. Mick’s office today at 916-469-9178 to reserve your one-on-one consultation.