Know the signs of TMJ

Frequent headaches, jaw pain, ear pain and a popping jaw that can make chewing difficult are all possible symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), usually referred to as TMJ. Patients who suffer from any or all of the above symptoms may not realize that they have a bite disorder until they visit with Newport News dentist Dr. Harper.

Dr. Harper, a restorative and family dentist, has devoted many post graduate training hours to the treatment of complex dental issues such as TMJ. He takes a comprehensive approach to all patients, seeking to understand the underlying cause of dental health problems before recommending a treatment plan to address symptoms.

Symptoms and signs of TMJ

  • Frequent headaches, especially in the morning
  • Jaw pain
  • Ear and/or neck pain
  • Worn or damaged teeth
  • Teeth grinding

Dr. Harper offers several TMJ therapy treatment options for patients diagnosed with TMJ, including splint therapy and oral appliance therapy. In many cases, these conservative treatments can address symptoms and help to restore balance in the bite by preventing teeth grinding and jaw clenching- often the underlying cause of recurring headaches and jaw pain in many patients.

For patients who have sustained damage to the teeth due to the effects of TMJ, Dr. Harper may recommend a restorative treatment to realign the bite by adjusting the surface of the teeth or repairing damaged teeth. This could be accomplished with tooth bonding, dental crowns, veneers or other restorative procedures.

The goal of TMJ therapy is to restore balance to a patient’s bite, thus alleviating pressure on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and relieving the associated symptoms. This is important for maintaining optimal dental health and avoiding further dental issues which can arise when TMJ is left untreated. Often accompanied by teeth grinding, TMJ can lead to damaged or even lost teeth over time, as well as cause damage to the joint that can require surgery to correct.

If you are concerned that you may have TMJ, schedule a visit with Dr. Harper to discuss your symptoms and enable him to evaluate your oral health. Early, conservative treatment can often be effective and restore your dental health!