TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) Treatment in Gardnerville
Symptoms associated with TMD (more commonly referred to as TMJ)
• An ache in lower jaw or temple which may feel better when you rub these tender muscles
• Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw joint when you chew or simply open or close your mouth.
• A feeling of general fatigue in your face or facial muscles.
• Swelling on either side of your face
• Difficulties opening your mouth widely – or a general feeling of discomfort when doing so.
• When opening or closing your mouth, your jaw may get locked or stuck in the open or closed position.
• Pain in the jaw joint
• Pain in the neck, shoulder or upper back aches• Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness, hearing issues, or ringing in the ears
What causes TMD?
Usually, symptoms arise due to physical problems with the jaw joint or related muscles. A direct injury or trauma to the face can cause TMD symptoms. The most common cause of TMD is found in patients who grind or clench their teeth, especially when under stress. Grinding or clenching usually results in an excess wear of the teeth which can create an uneven bite placing stress on the joints, this, in turn, can lead to discomfort or even damage to the joints as well as the surrounding muscles. Arthritis as well as other diseases can also create problems in the jaw joint.
How is it Diagnosed?
Diagnosing generally involves a thorough dental exam. Other unique dental issues may cause - TMD like symptoms, so it is crucial that a comprehensive exam be performed to rule out other possibilities. X-rays, as well as other diagnostic tools, may be used to provide a detailed glimpse at the jaw as well as its functionality.
What are the Common Treatments?
In severe cases when patients come into the office with acute pain a device known as a deprogrammer is needed in order to alleviate the acute symptoms. This is a simple device consisting of a small plastic bite orthotic that rests on the front two teeth only. A deprogrammer is used temporarily by keeping your back teeth away from each other which allows your muscles to relax alleviating pain. The success rate of using a deprogrammer is high and in most instances patients start feeling relief after a few short minutes. Patients are sent home with these devices as well as physical therapy instructions and are usually scheduled for a longer appointment at their earliest convenience when a more thorough evaluation can be attained. This usually involves the use of a computer imaging device known as a T-scan which measures and charts how your teeth bite together, which teeth are causing a deviation in your jaw and whether a simple equilibration (a selective grinding away of tooth interferences) is warranted.
Following T-Scan evaluation the following treatment options and/or combinations will be considered:
1. Orthodontic treatment (Braces)
2. Simple equilibration
3. Simple night guard
4. More complex orthotic such as an occlusal splint
5. A need to replace missing teeth
6. Restoring some or even all of the lower and/or upper teeth with crowns and veneers to reestablish or preserve optimal occlusion (bite).
7. Further evaluation of the jaw joint by an oral surgeon as well as the possible need for surgical intervention.
Again, any of the above treatment modalities could be considered and/or chosen, depending on the patients' needs and severity of disease. In the majority of the cases, all that is needed is an equilibration followed by the wearing of an occlusal night guard or a splint.
If you live in the Gardnerville area and suspect that you might be suffering from the symptoms of TMJ / TMD, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you and helping you to take the first step on the road to optimal dental health.