The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the small connective tissues that attach the jaw to the skull bone and allow for a complete, comfortable range of jaw movement. Because these small, triangular joints are so delicate, they may be easily strained or damaged. When this damage occurs, the resultant oral health conditions are known as TMJ dysfunction or TMD. For a patient suffering from TMD, we offer a wide range of treatment options to relieve jaw pain and renew full range of motion. Contact our team right away if you experience any jaw pain or diminished movement that may be indicative of TMD.
Before we begin treatment for patients with TMJ dysfunction, we need to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. We screen for common warning signs of TMD during every six-month checkup, but until it reaches the very advanced stages, these symptoms are often subtle or seem unrelated to the inner workings of your smile. We can use our state-of-the-art 3D CT/cone beam scanner to see just how the jaw and bite are positioned, and we are able to more accurately diagnose TMJ dysfunction even in early stages. Patients should also be aware of the common indications of TMD, and we encourage you to let us know right away if you experience any of the following concerns:
Because the cause of TMJ dysfunction is often difficult to pin point, there may be numerous methods for relieving this painful condition and renewing full jaw movement. We’ll begin by discussing ways to prevent unnecessary strain or damage by changing habits like:
We’ll address each of the above concerns and help patients change their behaviors to avoid TMJ dysfunctions. Additionally, we may encourage patients to perform daily stretching exercises in order to reposition the jaw and relieve pain and inflammation. Orthodontic malalignment is another reason many patients experience TMD. For these patients, we may want to partner with a local orthodontist to correct the positioning of the teeth to prevent continued pain and improve jaw mobility. We will likely also recommend over the counter pain relievers, heating, and or icing to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Occlusal splints are custom crafted oral appliances that are worn during sleep. They position the jaw in the ideal resting spot and prevent unnecessary movements. This relieves strain on the jaw joints and prevents further damage. When worn for just a few nights, TMJ sufferers typically see significant pain relief, reduced inflammation, and improved range of motion. As part of an ongoing TMJ therapy plan, wearing custom occlusal splints during sleep can be extremely beneficial to improving overall comfort and function.