Highland Park (847) 432-1111 2685 Waukegan Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035
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TMJ & Myofascial Pain Relief

If you’re searching for the best dentist in Highland Park — or Northbrook, or Mundelein — you’ve come to the right place. At North Suburban Dental, our highly-skilled doctors offer a wide array of the latest, most advanced dental services, including trigger point injection for TMJ disorder and myofascial pain relief.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

First, if you do not know what myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is, you may not understand how . If you suffer from pain deep within your muscles, you may be suffering myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Possible causes of MPS include repetitive motion and overuse of certain groups of muscles.

The pain associated with MPS occurs in the neck and shoulders, as well as in the upper and lower parts of the back. Patients often describe MPS muscle pain as both a knot and a spasm that occurs both during the day and at night. Swelling and a warming sensation are also common, and the pain can continually interrupt your sleep.

In patients suffering from MPS, sensitive spots on their body are known as trigger points. These trigger points develop in the taut, ropey bands of the muscle known as the fascia and can be felt as knots or nodules. When pressed, these trigger points can produce not only localized pain, but what is known as referred pain in another part of the body.

TMJ Disorders and Neuromuscular Dentistry

One of the areas often affected by MPS referred pain is the temporomandibular joints. These are the joints that work like hinges, allowing your jaws to easily move up and down, as well as side to side and back and forth. Every hour of every day these tiny but vital joints experience a great deal of stress and wear and tear as we eat, drink, speak, and yawn.

This constant movement and wear can lead to a painful muscle and joint disorder clinically known as temporomandibular joint disorder – TMD or TMJ for short. While you may not have even heard about it, this affliction affects as many as 10 million Americans.

TMJ Disorders and Neuromuscular Dentistry

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

The symptoms of TMJ can be either mild or intense, though in many cases the disorder starts subtly and intensifies over time. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the jaw
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • An aching pain in or around the ear, or the feeling that your ear is stuffed or full
  • Pain when chewing or difficulty chewing
  • Muscle tension or spasms
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Back pain
  • Tingling in the arms and upper back
  • Locking of the joint and difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • A clicking, popping or grating sound when you open and close your mouth or yawn

Causes of TMJ Disorders

The exact cause of TMJ disorders can sometimes be difficult to determine, but possible causes and risk factors include:

  • Overuse
  • Age
  • Trauma from a blow, accident or sports injury
  • An unbalanced bite caused by underdeveloped jaws
  • Certain behaviors such as grinding or clenching — known as bruxism — caused by stress
  • Obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
  • Joint and muscle disorders or connective tissue disorders
  • Some medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis

Trigger Points and Trigger Point Injections and TMJ

There is strong evidence showing the correlation between the presence of trigger points and the resultant TMJ syndrome. Furthermore, when trigger point treatment is included in a care plan for TMJ, the outcomes appear to be superior to those treatment regimens that do not address trigger points as part of the interventional treatment.

Trigger Points and Trigger Point Injections and TMJ

There are a number of options for treating MPS trigger points and referred TMJ pain, and one of the most successful is trigger point injections.

Trigger point injections involve injecting a very fine needle into the muscle for 30–60 seconds, along with the use of 1% plain lidocaine or mepivacaine to numb the area, making the treatment more comfortable. However, it is not the lidocaine that provides long-term pain relief, but the needling itself.

An alternative approach is what is known as “dry needling,” which is performed without the use of a numbing agent. Your dentist or physician will insert the needle directly into the trigger point, move it around as well as in and out. This method can be somewhat painful, but it’s one of the most effective ways to deactivate a trigger point and reduce the overall pain level.

Varying Levels of Relief

The pain relief from trigger point injections varies from one individual to another. For some, the pain, including TMJ-related pain, never returns after the initial treatment. However, for others, it reoccurs after several weeks or months, requiring follow up treatment.

Your Family Dentist in Highland Park

At North Suburban Dental we offer advanced treatment options for TMJ disorder that other dental offices may not provide, including trigger point injections. At your initial appointment, one of our highly trained and experienced specialists will perform a comprehensive exam to determine if you’re suffering from TMJ. Once we determine the source of your pain,we can recommend the best course of treatment for both immediate and long-term relief.

With the many treatment options now available, there is no reason to suffer with long-term temporomandibular joint pain. We urge you to schedule an appointment at North Suburban Dental today – whether you are concerned about chronic TMJ pain, need to schedule routine dental care, or are looking for a cosmetic dentistry consultation. We invite you to give us a call today.

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