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Yardley, Newtown, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your jaw to your skull. They are among the most complex joints in your body, enabling your jaw to move freely and perform important functions such as talking and chewing. When problems or disorders develop that interfere with your jaw joints functioning in harmony with your muscles, ligaments and teeth, the accompanying misalignment can lead to pain.
As part of Dr. Kalochie’s comprehensive dental care philosophy, all new patients will receive a thorough TMJ evaluation to determine if any jaw misalignment exists prior to starting any restorative or cosmetic dentistry treatment. If Dr. Kalochie finds that you are experiencing issues related to a TMJ disorder, she will recommend the appropriate treatment plan to place your jaw back into its proper resting position.
Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
In many TMJ cases, small symptoms become progressively worse over time. If you are experiencing any of the following issues, please schedule a visit with us as soon as possible:
- Clicking or popping noises in the jaw
- Pain around the ear
- Jaw muscles that are tender when chewing
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Excessive wear on teeth
- Neck, head, or shoulder pain
- Joint pain during yawning or chewing
Causes of TMJ Disorders and Treatment
The first step to successful treatment of TMJ symptoms is a proper diagnosis of the source of the pain. In 80% of cases, TMJ symptoms are the result of muscle pain that can result from clenching and grinding the teeth during sleep as a response to stress or simply a misaligned bite. Treatment usually consists of the use of a dental appliance called a night guard or bite splint which is custom-made by Dr. Kalochie and worn while sleeping to protect the teeth, relax the muscles, and allow the joints to properly realign. In some cases, Dr. Kalochie may recommend balancing the biting forces on all teeth by reshaping or realigning teeth orthodontically with treatments such as Invisalign.
A smaller percentage of TMJ symptoms are related to an actual deformity of the joint itself that could be the result of an injury or disease such as arthritis. In these cases an MRI is usually necessary to determine the full extent of the problem, and Dr. Kalochie will make a referral to a competent TMJ specialist for further treatment.
Dr. Kalochie’s TMJ Training
Yardley TMJ dentist Dr. Jennifer Kalochie has undergone extensive training in occlusion (bite mechanics) at the Dawson Academy where she received their Concept of Complete Dentistry Award in recognition of her commitment to excellence and complete care dentistry. This award reflects her commitment to her patients as well as to continuous learning. As a recipient, Dr. Kalochie has completed The Dawson Academy Core Curriculum obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary to take the proper alignment of your TMJ into consideration when restoring your smile. This ensures that your teeth will come together evenly, biting forces will be properly balanced, your jaw will stay healthy and function comfortably, and your restorative and cosmetic dentistry will hold up over time.
Please contact our dental office today to schedule your initial TMJ evaluation. Dr. Jennifer Kalochie serves patients in Yardley, Newtown, and throughout Bucks County, Pennsylvania.