TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with everyday life. The comfort and general well-being of the patient is at the heart of the dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist. The dentist is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Reasons for treating TMJ
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to neck pain and dizziness.
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for the dentist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, the jaw pain, and the dizziness.
The grinding teeth symptom is particularly common and usually occurs at night. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth.
It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit the dentist for an exact diagnosis.
Initially, the dentist will thoroughly examine the jaw area, the patient’s bite, take X-rays, and review the patient’s history in order to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend necessary treatment.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided such as:
Occlusal Guard: Thinner piece of plastic that has a hard outer shell and a softer inner shell fits over your teeth and helps prevent direct tooth-to-tooth contact when grinding teeth (bruxism).
Orthodontics: Braces or Invisalign are an effective treatment option to help treat TMJ caused by bite misalignment or malocclusion. Orthodontics will re-align your bite, correcting the position of the teeth and jaw, which can help reduce or eliminate ongoing symptoms.
Equilibration of bite: Occlusal equilibration involves minor reshaping of the teeth to allow them to fit together like puzzle pieces when the jaw joint is seated completely in the socket. This allows the muscles to relax and very often eliminates pain and sensitivity within days if not hours. This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure. As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.