TMJ Disorders | Stony Brook, NY

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you'll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Jonke, Dr. Guariglia, Dr. Jamdar, Dr. First or Dr. Mundiya can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Trouble With Your Jaw?

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.

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Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.

Treatment

There are various treatment options that Drs. Jonke, Guariglia, Jamdar, First or Mundiya can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Drs. Jonke, Guariglia, Jamdar, First or Mundiya will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.

The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:

  • Resting your jaw
  • Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying ice and heat
  • Exercising your jaw
  • Practicing good posture

Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night and helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relives pressure on parts of your jaw and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day or just at night to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear.

What About Bite Correction or Surgery?

If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Drs. Jonke, Guariglia, Jamdar, First or Mundiya does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and nonreducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

Suffolk Oral Surgery Associates, LLP

5 out of 5 stars based on 15 reviews.

Patient Review by Stephen H

My entire experience at Suffolk Oral Surgery was a positive experience from booking my appointment through my teeth extraction and follow up. Dr. Jonke and his staff are very experienced professionals who put you at ease throughout the entire procedure. I highly recommend them to anyone needing their services!

- Stephen H

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Jonathan Perry

Dr First and staff are incredible. Great care and recovery plan. Couldn't have asked for better. Would recommend.

- Jonathan Perry

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Joelle C

I was in the Holbrook office last year and I had the best experience with Dr. Guariglia & everyone in the office was great! I 100% recommend this practice!! Thank you Dr Guariglia & staff!!!

- Joelle C

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Janine S

Dr. G was awesome. Made me feel comfortable throughout my procedure. Alice his nurse was awesome also. Very caring people. Thanks SO much!

- Janine S

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Lisa F

On Tuesday 8/25/2020, my son had his wisdom teeth out in the hospital and Dr. First did the procedure. Prior to the procedure his staff helped me with forms and pre-certification at the hospital and then my son had a visit to go over the plans for pre and post op procedures. The office at Suffolk Oral Surgery in Smithtown was immaculate and all staff wore appropriate PPE so we felt protected from Covid-19. My son has a very complex medical history and allergies to medication. He is also Autistic and has Anxiety. The Staff and Dr. First did all they could to prepare us and answer all our questions. They also called to see how my son was after his surgery. All went well and I am grateful for our incredibly talented Oral Surgeon, Dr. Christopher First and his staff at Suffolk Oral Surgery, who helped make this a safe and smooth process every step of the way!!

- Lisa F

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Eileen P

Dr. First is an incredible oral surgeon ! I was very nervous about getting my wisdom teeth removed and his ENTIRE staff was more than understanding, making me feel completely at ease ! I had an incredible experience here with Dr. first, he made my wisdom teeth removal PAINLESS !!! I had no swelling after the surgery, and such minimal pain after, Advil was more then enough to take care of any discomfort. It’s been a week since I’ve had my wisdom teeth removed and the healing process is going great all thanks to Dr. First and his staff ! I highly recommend this office, if there was an option for 100 stars that’s what my rating would have been. A HUGE thank you to everyone at this office for making my experience so quick and easy, you guys are the absolute best !

- Eileen P

5 out of 5 stars on

Patient Review by Diane H

Dr First is a remarkable oral surgeon. I have just completed my fifth & sixth implant, all performed by Dr First. There is minimal discomfort, not any pain. I have recommended family and friends to Suffolk Oral Surgery, they are the BEST!

- Diane H

5 out of 5 stars on