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 wellbeing of our patients is at the heart of dentistry, so pain relief is the first consideration of the dentist.
The dentist will be able to test, diagnose, and devise a plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Causes of TMJ and Reasons for Treating TMJ
Prolonged periods of stress
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.
Misalignment of the Teeth (Bad Bite)
The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” It is possible for your orthodontist to realign or adjust the teeth without the need for painful or expensive surgeries. The realignment/adjustment will stop the pounding headaches, jaw pain, and dizziness.
Grinding of Teeth
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.
What does treating TMJ involve?
The malocclusion of the teeth can create greatly destructive forces among the five powerful muscles that control the closing and opening of the jaw.
These muscles generate a tremendous force when clenching, grinding or chewing.
Misalignment can seriously damage the function and aesthetic appearance of the teeth in many ways if left untreated, such as:
If a bite guard and bite relaxation techniques aren’t successful in treating the TMJ, the dentist is also able to prescribe muscle relaxants.
This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well.
A specially moulded bite guard can be created to stop teeth grinding during the night.
It is one of the most successful ways to treat TMJ.
Along with a bite guard, the dentist can also provide advice on relaxation techniques that will lessen the effects of stress.
Realignment to Treat TMJ
One option is to change the shape of the teeth and get rid of the bad bite completely, often called “realignment.”
This is especially useful because it alleviates TMJ symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of the teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth.
This may require new restorations and/or adjusting the natural teeth as well. It is not a painful procedure, and it is one the dentist has performed with great success numerous times.
As with any procedure, the dentist will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.