My Blog

Posts for tag: tmj

February 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj  

Are you experiencing jaw pain? Are you hearing odd grinding or clicking noises when you open and close your mouth? If so, you could be dealing with a TMJ issue. Fortunately, here at New Hope Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in New Hope, PA, Dr. Dawn Rickert offers BOTOX injectables and other therapies to aid these conditions.

What is TMJ?

Actually, it's an abbreviation for a part of your body. TMJ means temporomandibular joint, and there are two of them, one on each side of your face, under the ears.

These jaw joints are hinges. Besides simply opening and closing your mouth, the joints slide back and forth and side to side, helping you to speak, chew, and swallow. Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, these joints can malfunction, become stuck open or closed, and be extremely sore/painful.

The American Dental Association (ADA) says these factors contribute to this common oral health issue:

  • Stress
  • Poor dental bite (teeth do not line up properly)
  • Arthritis
  • Teeth clenching and grinding (a habit called bruxism)
  • Injury to the face
  • Being a young middle-aged woman

In fact, 1-800-DENTIST reports a full 90 percent of TMJ patients are women. There may be a link between estrogen levels and development of this painful condition.

How Dr. Rickert Can Help

A review of your symptoms, an X-ray screening, and a simple dental examination can confirm a diagnosis of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Next, your dentist will formulate a treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort and increase normal joint function for the long-term.

Care plans include conservative measures first—things such as:

  • Over-the-counter ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Warm compresses to the sore jaw
  • Relaxation techniques
  • A soft diet

Other interventions are a bit more complex. For instance, orthodontic care to even out your dental bite or even placement of dental crowns often helps TMJ. Prescription muscle relaxants may be necessary.

Additionally, the team at New Hope Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers BOTOX injections. BOTOX is a refined form of the botulism protein. When injected into key areas of the face, BOTOX reduces muscular tension and action, relieving both tenderness and spasms. Dr. Rickert can tell you if BOTOX therapy could help your particular case.

Need Relief? Give Us a Call

Dr. Dawn Rickert at New Hope Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers a wide range of preventive, restorative, and aesthetic dental treatments. If you have TMJ symptoms, please call to ask about BOTOX and other treatments: (215) 862-2525.


A blow to the face can result in a variety of injuries to your jaws and the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that join the lower jaw to the skull. Only a thorough examination can determine the type and extent of the injury, and how to treat it.

The pain you feel in your jaw may indicate a direct injury, usually near the joint. This could mean the joint head (condyle) has dislocated, or moved out of the joint space. It could also mean you’ve fractured your lower jaw, most commonly just below the head of the joint.

Jaw pain can also indicate structures near the jaw and joint have been damaged and the jaw is indirectly affected. In some cases a damaged tooth may be radiating pain signals through the jaw (along similar nerve paths). More likely, trauma to soft tissue near the jaw joint has swelled with inflammation, putting pressure on the joint and temporarily stopping the condyle from seating fully in the joint space.

Any of these injuries can also cause painful muscle spasms, a defensive reaction from the body that causes muscles on either side of the jaw to limit movement preventing further damage (a natural splint, if you will). Thus, the pain may be compounded by a diminished range of motion when you try to chew or speak.

It’s important, therefore, to determine the exact cause of pain and limited movement before commencing treatment. Spasms and inflammation are usually treated with muscle relaxant drugs and anti-inflammatory pain relievers. In the case of a dislocation, gentle manipulation can ease the condyle back into the joint space. A fracture would require more extensive treatment, including repositioning broken bone and immobilizing the jaw from movement to allow healing. In the most severe cases, surgical treatment may be necessary to internally immobilize the joint.

If you sustain an injury that results in jaw swelling and pain, you should see us without delay. The sooner we can diagnose and begin the proper treatment for your injury, the less likely you’ll encounter long-term problems and the sooner you’ll be pain and swelling free.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatment of jaw pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Jaw Pain.”