TMJ Specialist

Blanding Dental Associates

Comprehensive Dentists located in Orange Park, FL

TMJ is a condition that causes problems like severe jaw pain. It can be treated effectively with the help of comprehensive dentist and oral medicine specialist Dr. Gerald A. Cioffi at Gerald A. Cioffi DMD, PA in Orange Park, Florida. One of the most effective treatment options is an oral appliance that helps to realign the jaw in such a way that you'll be able to chew, talk, and feel normal once again.


What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ -- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder -- is a disorder impacting the joints within your jaw. Your jaw joints keep the bottom portion of the jaw attached to the skull properly. Those joints are responsible for proper chewing, opening, and closing your mouth, and all types of normal jaw movement. For most people, the jaw joints function properly and they experience no symptoms. However, for those people affected by TMJ -- an estimated 10 million people in the United States today -- jaw joints are painful and don't function as they should.

A central portion of the joint, the meniscus, often displaces causing dysfunction. Arthritis also affects this joint. Trauma such as sports injuries or accidents can initiate TMD. TMD does run in families.

What are the symptoms associated with TMJ?

There are a number of symptoms connected with TMJ, and they vary among patients. The most common symptom is continual or sporadic pain that occurs anytime you move your jaw. Other symptoms include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Pain when biting down
  • Pain when opening or closing the jaw
  • A popping sensation when opening or closing the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw in either the closed or open position
  • Referred ear pain with pain, pressure, and ringing (tinnitus)
  • Facial muscle pain (myospasm)

What is the cause of TMJ?

The cause of TMJ isn't always certain. Women are the most common sufferers, although the reason for this isn't known. Some of the potential reasons for TMJ include:

  • Head or facial trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic teeth grinding
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Genetics

No matter the reason that your TMJ developed, Dr. Cioffi is ready to help with effective treatments and solutions.

What is the recommended treatment for TMJ?

Dr. Cioffi treats each case of TMJ individually, based on the patient and their specific issues. There are a number of treatment options for TMJ today, and one of the most effective solutions is the oral TMJ appliance. Dr. Cioffi can have a custom oral appliance fitted for your mouth. The appliance is usually worn overnight to keep your jaw into the proper position.

Initially, muscle relaxants and pain relievers (ibuprofen) and moist heat packs are often combined with the splint during acute periods. The TMJ splint is the long-term maintenance therapy. The goal of treatment is not only to relieve the acute symptoms but to maintain a full range of motion in the joints and the prevent the dysfunction from progressing.