TMJ Therapy and Appliances
TMJ disorder is a painful condition that greatly affects oral health and quality of life. This condition is problematic for many reasons. It can cause moderate to severe discomfort on a daily basis as well as negatively affect oral function. Dr. Heap and our team at Beautiful Dentistry understand the toll that TMJ dysfunction can have on a person’s wellbeing; and we offer a few different treatment options to restore oral function and alleviate discomfort.
Symptoms and Causes of TMJ Dysfunction
Symptoms of TMJ disorder vary from person to person. Commonly reported symptoms include facial pain, headaches, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Some patients experience frequent headaches, along with popping sensations or sounds during mouth movement. Dentists often notice signs of TMJ disorder when patients have worn down teeth and damage to tooth enamel.
TMJ disorder can be caused by teeth not aligning properly when the mouth is closed (also called a malocclusion), tooth wear, stress, and a damaged temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Bruxism – the act of habitually grinding or clenching one’s teeth – can also lead to the development of TMJ dysfunction. Since the TMJ works in tandem with soft tissues like muscles and ligaments, strain and stress of any kind on these tissues can affect mouth movement and oral health.
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
There are different treatment protocols for TMJ disorder. Normally the line of treatment recommended depends on the underlying cause of the TMJ’s dysfunction. For example, if a malocclusion is to blame, efforts to promote a healthier bite may be employed. This can include a referral for orthodontic treatment or tooth restorations – specifically the placements of crowns – to correct or build up a patient’s bite.
Another option for relieving pain and discomfort is the use of custom oral appliances. An oral appliance can help hold the lower jaw in a healthier position to relieve pressure and stress on the TMJ and neighboring facial tissues. This is a custom appliance that is worn during sleep so that treatment doesn’t disrupt one’s everyday life.
If you have signs or symptoms of TMJ disorder, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with our dentist, Dr. Heap. At your appointment, we will conduct a physical examination to determine the root cause of your discomfort and develop a treatment plan that is suited to your unique needs.
Call Beautiful Dentistry today to reserve an appointment.