TMJ Specialist

Chris Mueller, D.D.S. -  - General Dentist

Chris Mueller, D.D.S.

General Dentist & Implant Dentist located in Port Orchard, WA

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect between 5% to 12% of the population. TMJ is the most common cause of facial pain and causes recurrent or chronic pain and dysfunction. If you experience facial pain in and around your jaw, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Mueller in Port Orchard, Washington.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. They slide and rotate in front of each ear. When properly aligned, you can use your mouth without any problems. Misalignments lead to several different problems, including:

  • Pain or tenderness in your jaw, ears, or face
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Problems opening and closing your mouth due to your jaw locking
  • Headaches or dizziness

 

How is TMJ diagnosed?

When you see Dr. Mueller for a TMJ-related issue, he listens to and feels your jaw while you open and close your mouth. He also observes the range of motion in your jaw and presses on certain areas around your jaw in order to identify where your discomfort stems from.

Dr. Mueller also looks at your dental X-rays and often orders either a CT scan or MRI for more detailed images of the areas giving you issues.

 

How is TMJ treated?

In some cases, your symptoms go away without treatment. However, if pain persists and Dr. Mueller diagnoses you with TMJ, there are a number of treatment options available. It’s not uncommon for Dr. Mueller to offer more than one option at a time, including:

 

Medications

  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline to help with pain relief
  • Muscle relaxants to help relieve pain (not long-term solutions)

 

Oral appliances

Typically worn while sleeping, this small, prefabricated bite stop covers your front teeth. Dr. Mueller makes adjustments along the outer surface of the device in order to maintain proper contact between your teeth when you close your jaw. Known as an NTI-tss® device, it also helps prevent and treat bruxism, tension-type headaches, and migraines.

 

Additional TMJ procedures

When other methods don’t help, Dr. Mueller recommends:

  • BOTOX® injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Arthroscopic surgery
  • Open-joint surgery

It’s best to discuss the pros, cons, and risks associated with each method with Dr. Mueller before making a decision.

If TMJ is causing you facial pain in and around your jaw, call or make an appointment online today with Dr. Mueller in Port Orchard, Washington.