The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull and allows your mouth to open and close. Bite misalignment, injury, overuse, disease, congenital defects, and other factors can displace or inflame the TMJ, leading to a wide range of problems, known collectively as TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing problems with the TMJ, or suspect that your jaw pain, headaches or other symptoms may be a result of TMJ disorder, Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. can help. He has experience treating TMJ disorders and has studied the TMJ and the chewing system extensively. Using the most advanced diagnostic technologies, Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. can diagnose your condition and utilize the most state-of-the-art strategies and treatments to remedy your pain.
Common TMJ Symptoms
Symptoms of TMJ disorder vary patient to patient. They include:
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Swelling on one or both sides of the jaw
- Stiffness in the jaw
- Bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth)
- Wear and tear on your teeth as a result of bruxism
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth
- Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Misaligned bite
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an in-office consultation with Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. for a formal diagnosis. After thoroughly evaluating your jaw, bite and teeth, Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. will recommend a treatment plan that is unique to your symptoms.
TMJ Treatment Options
Treatment depends on the severity of your case, as well your symptoms. Mild cases of TMJ disorder can be managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Muscle relaxants may also alleviate pain. If your symptoms are stress induced, our team can go over stress-relieving techniques that can help ease tension in the jaw and TMJ. Bite or teeth misalignment may require braces or other orthodontic treatments.
While surgical intervention is an option, it is only considered after all conservative treatments have been explored. As a holistic dentist, Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. believes in treating TMJ problems using non-surgical therapies whenever appropriate. He will do his utmost to treat your problems as conservatively as possible.
In some cases, oral appliance therapy can remedy the problem. This minimally invasive treatment involves wearing a custom-made mouth guard over the upper arch, lower arch or both. It can also be worn during the day or at nighttime during sleep. When in place, the mouth guard keeps the teeth in proper alignment and protects them from the forces of bruxism. Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. fabricates your customized mouth guard using an impression of your teeth and mouth. As a result, the mouth guard will fit snugly yet comfortably over your teeth and will be better suited to protect your teeth than stock guards available over the counter.
Many of Dr. LeBlanc, Jr.’s patients have seen significant improvement in symptoms with oral appliance therapy. They find this approach to be very gentle and easy in comparison to other TMJ treatments. Depending on your case, he may suggest a combination of treatments.
There’s no need to live with TMJ pain any longer. To learn more about the TMJ treatment options we offer, please contact our Slidell office to schedule an appointment with Dr. LeBlanc, Jr. today.