TMJ Pain & Headache Treatment in South New Jersey
Effective treatment for painful and misaligned jaw joints
Your jaw joint can be causing you headaches, facial pain, ear pain, painful chewing and more!
The TMJ (temporomandibular joint or jaw joint) is one of the hardest-working joints in your body. It is composed of two hinge joints where your lower jaw (mandible) meets your “temporal” skull bone immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head.
This flexible joint allows you to smoothly move your jaw to chew, talk and yawn. However, when the TMJ or the muscles connected to it are functioning poorly, the stress on the muscles supporting the jaw relays to the rest of head and neck, causing painful symptoms such as headaches and other symptoms.
Dentists advancing the field of TMJ Treatment
As jaw function is an integral part of dental treatment, dentists are the natural leaders in TMJ treatment. Dentistry has made many innovations in the field of TMJ Disorder treatment and utilizes some of the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technology.
Recognized leader in TMJ treatment in South New Jersey
Dr. John Nosti is known for his success in treating TMJ problems and many other doctors in the South Jersey area refer him patients specifically for TMJ treatment.
He uses the most advanced technology available to diagnose and treat the TMJ. This includes the T-Scan® device, owned by only 1% of dentists in the country. The T-Scan precisely maps a patient’s bite, which is how your teeth come together.
A bite that is even a little off can lead to problems in chewing and can cause pain in the jaw, head or facial area. The T-Scan points out exactly where to correct the bite and results in accurate and successful treatment. Dr. Nosti is considered an expert in its use has trained other dentists in using the T-Scan.
Typical symptoms of a malfunctioning TMJ
Typical symptoms of a TMJ in trouble, known as TMD (TMJ Disorder), are:
- Neck aches
- Upper shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Facial pain or tenderness around the jaw joint area
- Difficulty opening the mouth very wide
- Jaws that get “locked”
- Clicking, grating or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
Causes of TMJ problems
Misaligned bite. Your bite is how your teeth come together. Misalignments in bite, such as an overbite, cause undue stress on the muscles that move the jaw in chewing and on the nerves that control these muscles.
As well as causing TMJ pain, this pain can also be “referred” to other parts of the head and neck.A bad bite can occur as a result of inherited jaw misalignments, through trauma and as a result of broken-down or worn teeth.
Teeth clenching and grinding (Bruxism).
Some people are habitual teeth grinders or clenchers, often done unknowingly during sleep. This constant pressure on the TMJ causes the muscles to tense up, leading to various symptoms of pain.
Dislocation of the joint from the socket.
Trauma and injury.
People experiencing a great amount of stress can get into the habit of tightening their facial and jaw muscles or clench their teeth.
Advanced technology for successful TMJ treatment
Proper diagnosis of the TMJ problem is vital to treatment. Dr. Nosti starts with a thorough review of your symptoms and oral function. He reviews your dental and medical history and conducts an oral examination. He then performs various diagnostic tests as below to narrow down the cause of your symptoms.
Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA)
This diagnostic technology provides a quick and accurate evaluation of the health of the TMJ. The JVA measures and compares the vibrations of your jaw when you open and close it against the normal vibrations of a smooth-functioning jaw joint.
Specific changes such as those caused by jaw joint degeneration, tears or displacement produce different vibration patterns or “signatures”. Using a computer program Dr .Nosti can identify the patterns and diagnosis the exact cause of the TMJ problem.
A JVA analysis only takes a couple of minutes.
EMG, or electromyographic, feedback uses electronic sensors to monitor muscle tension. From this test Dr. Nosti can evaluate the function of the muscles in the head and neck.
T-Scan Bite Analysis
Dr. Nosti uses the Tekscan® T-Scan® to map the pressure caused
by patients biting down onto a sensor.
The T-Scan records an accurate, detailed measurement of the biting pressure throughout the mouth. This is transmitted to a computer to help Dr. Nosti analyze your bite. In an optimum bite, the teeth come together evenly with an even pressure throughout the mouth. A bad bite, such as an overbite or an underbite, can cause a great deal of stress on the TMJ, impair function and cause pain.
Computerized Jaw Tracking
With the JT-3D computerized jaw-tracking device ,Dr. Nosti can see how well the jaw is operating. The JT-3D records the jaw movements in three dimensions.
Dr. Nosti uses the jaw tracker to detect TMJ dysfunction, such as the limitation in opening of the jaw and jaw movement deviations.
TMJ Disorder Treatment
Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, Dr. Nosti creates your treatment plan. Remedies for TMJ disorders vary according to the severity. If detected early, we may simply recommend that you rest the jaw muscles by avoiding hard foods, chewing gums and relaxing the muscles with heat.
Your treatment can include one or more of:
Dr. Nosti custom creates an appliance similar to a mouth guard that keeps your jaw in position and relaxed. The appliance can also adjust your bite into an optimal position.
For patients who are compulsively grinding or clenching their teeth at night, Dr. Nosti fits a night guard to take the pressure off the teeth.
Once the jaw has been relaxed and healed, patients can choose to have more permanent fixes of their misaligned jaw or bite with orthodontics.
Dental work such as crowns, veneers and dental implants
Other dental work, such as crowns, veneers and dental implants, can also work to reposition your jaw and bite.
Immediate pain relief with MLS Cold Laser Healing
For immediate pain relief Dr. Nosti uses an MLS (Multi-wave Lock System), a cold laser that can reduce pain and inflammation at the same time. Traditional laser therapy can only treat one or the other at a time. This dual-action laser quickly reduces pain, swelling and speeds healing and recovery.
This cutting-edge laser is a powerful adjunct to therapy. Patients come to us in pain and leave feeling good. The MLS is used throughout treatment to reduce pain and to increase healing.
How can you help my headaches?
About 85% of headaches are tension headaches. A tension headache often feels like there is a band squeezing the head, causing mild to moderate pain.
They are called “tension” headaches as tense muscle groups around the head and neck can refer this tension to the head and cause a headache via various nerves in the head, especially the “trigeminal nerve”. The trigeminal nerve controls the major chewing muscles and is responsible for gathering sensory information, such as pain, from the jaw, teeth, head, face and neck. It transfers the pain into the head area, resulting in headaches.
Major contributors to this referred tension are the imbalances caused by a bad bite (how teeth come together), a poorly aligned or traumatized TMJ or other imbalances in dental forces, such as poor orthodontics or worn teeth. These imbalances cause stress on the facial and jaw muscles, which is then referred via the trigeminal nerve to the head.
Dr. Nosti uses advanced diagnostic testing that can test to see if your headaches could have their source in problems with your TMJ and related muscles, nerves and structures.
“Dr. Nosti is compassionate and knowledgeable. He is sincere in his work and makes me feel comfortable while receiving treatment. I had my old silver fillings changed to white fillings, and my TMJ pain was resolved with treatment received by Dr. Nosti. He is the best!!” – Christina
“If you are looking for a natural, spectacular smile that will stay with you for years to come, Dr. Nosti is the man. His dedication to education and technology is very apparent the second you meet him and his staff. You owe it to yourself to have him perform your smile makeover.” – Jonathan Abenaim, DMD DICOI
To make an appointment, call 609.318.6386 (Mays Landing), 609.318.6405 (Somers Point) or click here to request an appointment online.