The truth is: it’s both. TMJ is a complex problem that can have a lot of different root causes and can be part of the medical realm or the dental realm. The ideal situation is when both doctors are working in tandem, giving you the best holistic care possible that makes use of both their specialities.
A dentist can identify a lot of the obvious signs of TMJ. They can see the effects of grinding your teeth, and they can treat the effects of that with mouthguards and medicine. In extreme circumstances, a dentist (an oral surgeon) can perform surgery on your jaw to locate and address the bigger problems that that could be causing major structural problems with your jaw.
The first type of doctor that you would see for a TMJ problem would be a physical therapist. They can work with the inflexibility in your jaw and help you strength muscles and loosen others. Another type of doctor that you would see for TMJ would be, as odd as it may sound, a therapist. Much of TMJ pain is caused by a build up of stress in the jaw that can be the result of many underlying emotional and psychological factors. Working with a therapist to lower your stress level can lower your overall. You’d also want to see a sleep therapist who can watch and evaluate your sleep patterns and see how you’re sleeping and if you need to change your habits. Furthermore, a surgeon can work with the oral surgeon if it comes to that.
TMJ is treated by both doctors and dentists, as mentioned above, and the best form of TMJ care is a treatment that includes both the doctor and dentist consulting together to come up with the best plan for moving forward.
When you visit your dentist with TMJ pain, they will examine your mouth and check your facial muscles, as well as those in your jaw and neck. They’ll inspect your teeth for signs of grinding and clenching (dentists can tell if you’ve been grinding your teeth). He’ll also test the movement of your jaw--the range of motion and how big you can open your mouth.
TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham