what is TMJ Therapy?
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the place where your jaw connects to your skull to allow you to open and close your mouth easily. Sometimes the TMJ is injured or damaged, leading to a painful condition called temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD). If you are having pain or hearing noises whenever you open your jaw, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Boulard, our general dentist. He will examine you to see if you have TMD. At Something To Smile About in Merrimack, NH, Dr. Boulard uses innovative tools to diagnose your TMD. Your TMJ treatment will be dependent on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, but a few choices include oral appliances (mouth or night guards), bite modifications, dental restorations, and more.
What Are the Benefits of TMJ Therapy?
Pain at the temporomandibular joint can both interfere with everyday activities and lead to more serious problems in the future. Benefits of treating TMJ pain at Something To Smile About with Dr. Boulard and his experienced team include:
- Reducing jaw, neck, and facial pain
- Minimizing headaches
- Decreasing clicking and/or popping in the jaw
- Diminishing the risk of tooth damage associated with grinding
- Enhancing jaw mobility
- Restoring the function and appearance of your teeth
- More comfortability eating and chewing
- Better sleep
"I was fortunate enough to have had Dr Boulard help me after an accident that knocked out my front teeth. Because of the extensive damage, I scheduled a consultation with Dr Boulard expecting reconstructive surgery, and it took no more than 2 hours for him to draw up a plan and I left the office that day relieved of pain (still no teeth). After many months of work, Dr Boulard proved his skills and expertise repairing my teeth making them look better than they did before and function as well. As someone who hates going to the dentist, he made sure I was comfortable throughout each procedure. Dr Boulard has an amazing team at his side. He details as a perfectionist would, but also makes the comfort of his patients his number one priority. He was extremely accommodative with scheduling and working with my insurance."- N.A. / Google / Oct 20, 2022
"Just a shout out to Something to Smile About on dw! Dr Kevin and his staff are so friendly and reliable. I had work done recently and it was one of the easiest pain less experience I've ever had at the dentist. He's very thorough with everything he's does. Recommend 10 out of 10 if youre looking for a new dentist 🦷"- N.K. / Facebook / Apr 06, 2022
"As someone that loathes going to the dentist and having major anxiety about it I got lucky to have found Dr. Boulard and his amazing staff. From the very onset they treat you with the utmost respect and class. By the time you leave your first appointment you realize you made the right choice as they treat you like family. After the first conversation with Liz making the appointment I knew this was possibly the right place. And it was cemented the second you walk through the door and you're greeted by Liz her radiant smile and the feeling that you belong there. Easiest five star rating I've given. If there was an option for ten or fifteen stars they'd earn them all!! If you're on the fence hop over and give something to smile about a call."- B. / Google / Jan 19, 2022
"After delaying dental care for over a year, I found Dr. Boulard and have had two visits with his practice. I could not be more pleased! The staff is friendly and competent and showed deep concern for my needs and well being. After experiencing the intolerance and contempt the medical community at large has for those who cannot safely wear a face mask, I am overjoyed at the treatment and respect I received here. After my dental surgery, I got a follow-up call from Dr. Boulard himself, which I thought was so nice and caring. These folks stand head and shoulders above the rest and I am so grateful to have found them!"- L.P. / Office Visit / Jun 10, 2021
"I’ve been a patient with Dr. Boulard for 14 years. I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my teeth! Always makes me feel comfortable and never a painful experience. I love the fact that they have high tech scanners so I never gag, no more gunky impressions. and they have up to date technology, with the option of also getting Invisalign. The rest of the staff is lovely and the office manager, Olga, is amazing! They are so efficient and well mannered. I highly recommend!"- D.S. / Google / May 24, 2021
Who needs TMJ Therapy?
TMJ could be caused by an injury to the jaw, years of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw (bruxism), or a misaligned bite (dental malocclusion). Medical conditions that may lead to advancing this condition may include the development of a tumor in the TMJ or arthritis. If you're experiencing symptoms, Dr. Boulard can diagnose and treat you. The most common signs of TMD are tenderness or pain in the jaw, spasms in your face muscles, feeling as though your jaw is stiff or stuck, and headaches that begin around your ears. Another sign is hearing popping, clicking, or cracking whenever you use your jaw.
How Dr. Boulard treats TMJ
To diagnose a TMJ, Dr. Boulard will carefully listen and review your concerns before performing a physical examination. Throughout the exam, he will assess the movement of your jaw and search for indications of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and misalignment of your teeth. He will also palpate the jaw and surrounding area for any swelling and tenderness. Dr. Boulard may request digital images of your lower face or an analysis of your bite to look for underlying factors that could determine your therapy approach. Depending on the examination, he will go over your treatment choices that might include a mouth guard, orthodontics, or restorations (bridges, crowns, and dentures).
taking care of yourself with TMJ
Along with procedures to address the root cause of your TMD, Dr. Boulard may suggest other means to ease pain and other symptoms on your own. This includes eating softer foods, avoiding biting your nails or chewing gum, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Dr. Boulard may also give you exercises to strengthen your jaws or prescribe medicine to relax your facial muscles and to ease pain, anxiety, or inflammation.
Continue going to follow-up appointments so Dr. Boulard can check the results of your TMJ therapy. If your therapy is not helping, he will try another strategy. You should still schedule annual dental exams at Something To Smile About to keep your mouth healthy and your symptoms in check.
TMJ Therapy FAQ
What are the most common symptoms of TMJ?
- Pain (teeth, jaw, neck, face, throat, head)
- Constant earache without an infection
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- "Stuffy" or "muffled" feeling in ears
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Limited ability to move or open your jaw
Is surgery the only option to treat TMJ?
No, it isn't. Dr. Boulard offers a wide variety of TMJ treatment options, allowing him to personalize your treatment plan to address your unique TMJ problems. Some of the treatment options include mouth guards, orthodontics, dental restorations, and more.
How common is TMJ?
In the U.S., around 12% of people have some type of TMJ issue, with more women experiencing TMJ than men.
Does TMJ go away on its own?
Unfortunately, many TMJ conditions are progressive, meaning they get worse over time. That's why Dr. Boulard recommends early diagnosis and treatment for TMJ to improve your health and overall wellbeing.
Treat Your TMJ with Dr. Boulard
TMJ pain can make it hard to eat, speak, and enjoy your everyday life. Since there are lots of possible causes, signs, and solutions for this condition, schedule a consultation with Dr. Boulard at his office in Merrimack, NH. He will perform a detailed examination prior to diagnosing the problem and discussing treatment choices. Get in touch with our staff at Something To Smile About to get more information and schedule an appointment.