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TMJ Specialist

House of Braces

Yon H. Lai, DDS, PC

Orthodontist located in Lower East Side, New York, NY & Flushing, NY

Researchers estimate more than 10 million Americans have TMJ. Though common, without early intervention and treatment, TMJ can affect your ability to bite, chew, or speak comfortably. At House of Braces, in Flushing, Queens, and the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, Yon Lai, DDS, PC, and the team treat TMJ using removable appliances and braces. To make an appointment, call the nearest office or click the online booking tool today.


What is TMJ?

TMJ is a group of degenerative conditions that affect the temporomandibular joints — two hinge-like pieces of soft tissue that connect the jaw to your skull. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes TMJ, but several factors contribute, including genetics, underlying medical conditions like arthritis, and previous jaw injuries.

In most instances, TMJ responds to conservative at-home treatments like rest, over-the-counter pain medication, and ice. If your symptoms persist or they interfere with your ability to bite or chew, contact the team at House of Braces right away.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Ear pain
  • Aching facial pain
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Frequent headaches

If you have TMJ, you might also notice that your jaw makes a grating or popping sound whenever you open your mouth.

Who is at risk of developing TMJ?

TMJ affects people of all ages and races, but several factors may increase your risk. For example, you’re more likely to experience TMJ if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Other factors that contribute include chronic degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and connective tissue diseases that affect the temporomandibular joints.

How is TMJ diagnosed?

To diagnose TMJ, your provider at House of Braces conducts a comprehensive oral exam. During the exam, they observe your jaw’s range of motion, gently press on your jaw to pinpoint areas of swelling or discomfort, and ask about the severity of your symptoms. 

If physical observation isn’t enough to determine the underlying cause, your provider orders digital X-rays. X-rays provide detailed images of your teeth, jaw, and alveolar bone. Your provider uses these images to detect inflammation or other potential problems.

How is TMJ treated?

At House of Braces, the team treats TMJ using conservative, noninvasive measures whenever possible. If you experience mild jaw pain, treatment might involve a removable oral appliance or dental braces. If your symptoms are severe and don’t respond to conservative care, surgical intervention might be necessary.

The team can refer you to their affiliated oral surgery practice at New York University for an outpatient procedure.

To receive treatment for TMJ, make an appointment at House of Braces by calling the nearest office or by clicking the online booking tool today.