Did you know that temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD and sometimes simply TMJ, affects millions of Americans every year? In fact, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) notes that they estimate over 10 million Americans are affected by the disorder.
Unfortunately, TMD can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms including jaw pain, facial pain, headaches, ear aches, an inability to fully open and close the mouth, and a hard time chewing certain foods. For this reason, many people affected by TMD seek TMJ treatment to relieve strain on the joint and alleviate symptoms.
While TMD cannot be cured, TMJ treatments can usually help to relieve symptoms by addressing some of the possible contributors to TMJ pain. While no exact cause is known, there are several things that can contribute to the development of TMD. These can include an uneven bite, missing teeth, crooked teeth, malocclusion, and teeth grinding. Let’s take a look at three TMJ treatments recommended by your dentist:
This is by far one of the more popular TMJ treatments. Dental splits are plastic orthotics that position the mouth so that the jaw maintains a relaxed position. They are most commonly worn only at night to eliminate unconscious behaviors such as teeth grinding and clenching. Also, wearing a dental splint at night allows the jaw muscles to relax and rest, which is a key element in TMJ treatment.
Another lesser known TMJ treatment are dental crowns. Dental crowns are caps used to restore decayed or damaged teeth by entirely encapsulating the tooth. Many people don’t realize that decayed, cracked, chipped, worn, or unevenly shaped and sized teeth can contribute to TMJ pain and eventually lead to TMD. This is because all of the aforementioned dental issues can ultimately affect the bite. Simply stated, decayed, cracked, chipped, worn, or unevenly shaped and sized teeth can all cause the bite to not meet up properly, which places additional strain on the TMJ. By using a dental crown to correct these issues, all the teeth will be the same size and texture, making it easier for them to line up properly.
Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
The final TMJ treatment is probably also something you’d never think about. Implant-supported dental bridges are composed of a fake tooth or teeth supported on either side by dental implants. Implant-supported bridges are ideal for replacing multiple, adjacent missing teeth. To manage or prevent TMD from occurring, it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. This is because the gaps left by missing teeth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift in position, which changes the entire alignment of your bite. Eventually this can lead to opposing teeth meeting up at odd angles, which will result in additional strain on the jaw joint.
Overall, dental splints, dental crowns, and implant-supported dental bridges are all possible TMJ treatment options. All three TMJ treatments work to properly align the teeth and bite so that pressure on the jaw joint is reduced. This reduction in pressure will ultimately alleviate symptoms or at least decrease their severity and frequency of occurrence. If you are suffering from TMD, don’t wait any longer. Learn more at “TMJ Treatment” and schedule a consultation with a TMD dentist in your area to find the relief you’ve been waiting for.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.