Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ, TMD)

Temporomandibular joint disorder—also called TMJ or TMD—describes a group of conditions that affect the muscles in your jaw. The temporomandibular joint is the main cause of pain in these cases. These joints connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. Located on each side of your head, these joints work together so you can do simple, everyday things like chewing your food, speaking to a friend or swallowing your favorite drink.

TMJ disorders often cause tenderness in the jaw, facial pain and difficulty moving the joint. You may also notice a clicking, grating, and/or popping noise when you move your jaw. Others may experience lockjaw or difficulty opening their mouth all the way.

While there is no known cause, TMJ affects millions of Americans. Trauma to the jaw or face usually plays a role in the development of this condition, but these conditions are also believed to contribute to the development of TMJ:

  • Osteoarthritis: Over time, joints become prone to arthritis—this is no different for the temporomandibular joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Inflammation in the temporomandibular joints can cause cartilage to break down, and joints become susceptible to erosion.
  • Bruxism: Teeth grinding can cause teeth to wear down and become misaligned, causing chewing muscles to change.
  • Clenching: Stress is often associated with clenching, which can cause facial pain around the temporomandibular joints.

Dear Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines.  We are happy to announce that we are now able to reopen for routine care. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. In addition to our standard comprehensive infection control procedures (following the recommendations of the ADA, CDC and OSHA), our schedules have been reduced to ensure extreme sanitation measures are carried out between each appointment. An additional reason for this schedule change is to reduce the number of individuals within the office at one time and decrease congestion in the hallways.

Other changes you may notice at your next appointment;

  • You will be asked some screening questions before your appointment and upon arrival.
  • We will ask you to use the hand sanitizer made available in the reception area
  • We will no longer offer magazines and children’s toys in the reception area as these items are too difficult to disinfect.
  • Appointments will be managed to allow greater time between patients, social distancing between patients, and reduced number of patients in the reception area at one time. That might mean fewer scheduling options for appointments.

We are screening our employees before they start work each day, just as we are doing with patients (temperature and screening questions).  If any employee has had exposure to Covid-19, we are requiring them to be testing for the virus prior to coming back to work.

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time! We have been extremely busy trying to take this time to train, expand our knowledge, and improve our processes.  We value your trust and loyalty and are excited to be able to see you again!

Sincerely,

Dr. Alperstein and Team