Temporomandibular Joint Disorder: TMJ Medical Advisory from Dr. Charles Sutera

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – 01-21-2020 (PRDistribution.com) —

Learn about TMJ from Dental Expert Charles Sutera, DMD, FAGD

Stress from cold weather can worsen the pain of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, so this is the time of year Charles Sutera, DMD, FAGD, founder of Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction, would like to remind people that they don’t have to suffer.

Approximately 80 million Americans endure the symptoms of TMJ disorder when treatment is available. “I think many people believe that surgery is the only option, so they avoid seeking help,” says Dr. Charles Sutera. “Surgery is actually one of the last resorts for TMJ disorder and the other types of interventions we use are a lot less invasive.”

TMJ Disorder: What is it?

Two identical joints on each side of the head functioning as one unit make TMJ unique and diagnosing TMJ dysfunction complex. Each joint has accessory ligaments, muscles, and other components essential to its function. Any one of these can be the source of TMJ pain because if even one part of the anatomy (teeth, joint, muscles, ligaments) is out of harmony with the rest, it can create a domino effect of TMJ symptoms.

Treatments for TMJ disorder include:

Simple remedies like stretching the muscles, improving your posture, applying a hot or cold compress, taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or a prescription medication, exercising to strengthen your neck and jaws. 

Supportive interventions like physical therapy to help release muscle and joint tension, repositioning the jaws with a mouth guard, and Botox therapy of the muscles of the jaw.

Definitive interventions, which is a broad category in terms of TMJ treatment. There’s a bit of a laundry list of treatment options available, which may include clear aligners, conventional orthodontics, equilibrating the bite, wisdom tooth removal, dental crowns, bridges, implants, composites, and surgery. “The goal is to bring the jaws into an improved alignment,” says Dr. Sutera. “The cause and degree of misalignment determine which procedures are selected.”

Top Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

“Another reason so many people don’t get treatment for TMJ disorder is that their symptoms may not seem related to their jaw,” says Dr. Sutera. “People don’t tend to think of their jaw when they have headaches or ear aches, but muscle tension from the misalignment of your jaws can cause headaches, and you have to remember that there’s only about a centimeter between your jaw joint and your ear.”

Consult your dentist if you are prone to chronic headaches, muscle soreness and fatigue around your mouth and jaw, you hear a clicking or snapping sound when you chew, and/or you can’t open your mouth all the way.

Don’t Try to DIY It

There are a lot of do-it-yourself dental solutions on the market these days, but your mouth and jaws are a fairly complex system and you could make matters worse going the DIY route. 

“You can get a boil-and-set mouth guard at the pharmacy, but it’s an unpredictable option because if you set the guard in the wrong position, you could end up in more pain,” says Dr. Sutera. “There’s really no way to get the best results without an evaluation by a specialist, who will test for proper alignment and make adjustments to deliver you the relief you’re looking for.”

How to Find the Right TMJ Specialist

There’s no certification from the American Dental Association for specializing in TMJ disorders, so it can be difficult to find the right dentist. Dr. Sutera recommends asking whether the dentist has taken any courses in TMJ disorders. Ideally, a TMJ specialist has a combination of credentials from a formal residency or an acclaimed TMJ training program like the ones offered by Pankey Institute, Dawson Institute, Spears Institute, and the Las Vegas Institute.

About Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction

Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction is a dental practice in Waltham, MA founded by Charles Sutera, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Sutera is one of the youngest people to achieve FAGD status and is a top 10 leader in the U.S. in smile makeovers, TMJ treatment, and sedation dentistry. He serves as an expert witness for law firms across the U.S., and his patented “Exact Contact” product is used by dentists nationwide to improve crown fit.  For more information, contact:  


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