Alleviating Pain with TMJ Disorder Treatment
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as TMD, is a common condition which results in pain, inflammation, and other issues affecting the jaw joints. The team at Dearborn Family Dentistry offers nonsurgical treatments, including customized oral appliances, to alleviate these uncomfortable effects. If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and effective TMJ disorder treatment at the Dearborn, MI, practice of Drs. Mark Luria and Dr. Rena Allswang.
Causes of TMD
The TMJs connect the lower jaw and the base of the skull. When these joints do not work properly, it can cause pain in the jaw and the surrounding area. Common causes of TMD include teeth grinding, teeth clenching, trauma to the jaw, and arthritis. Stress is often a culprit that triggers teeth clenching, which in turn, can cause more stress. TMD may also be associated with a misaligned bite, which is often due to worn or damaged teeth.
TMD symptoms are often minor and resolve on their own. In other cases, without treatment, effects will worsen to the point that they impact the patient's quality of life. The characteristic teeth clenching and grinding causes muscle contractions. In turn, this can exacerbate TMD symptoms such as:
- A popping sound when opening and closing the jaw
- Pain in the neck, face, shoulders, or upper back
- Chronic and severe headaches
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
- A bite that feels off or misaligned
- Swelling on one side of the face
- Ringing in the ears
- Dental erosion or fractures
The only way to receive an accurate diagnosis is by undergoing an exam with a dentist who is familiar with TMD.
How Untreated TMD Affects Your Health
Forgoing treatment for TMD can lead to a cascade of health issues, including:
- Dental Erosion: As bruxism worsens, teeth may become flattened and small cracks may form.
- Dietary Restrictions: With worsening jaw pain, patients may avoid hard or chewy foods. In instances of severe jaw pain, patients may only eat soft foods and liquids, potentially causing malnutrition over the long-term.
- Ringing Ears: Some patients may experience ringing in the ears or other issues with their hearing.
If severe TMD is left untreated for too long, teeth can become loose and even shift out of place.
At your initial exam, one of our dentists will assess your bite and manually check for misalignment and inflammation of the joints. Images of the area may also be taken. Using this data, your dentist will be able to determine the optimal position of the teeth and jaw joints. Essentially, TMD treatment strives to realign the bite in a way which relieves undue pressure on the TMJs. This allows the surrounding muscles to relax and improves symptoms.
TMD can lead to worsening symptoms that compromise your quality of life. In many cases, a simple oral appliance can help.
A customized oral appliance is often the first line of defense against TMD. Sometimes called a night guard, the oral splint will hold the jaw in place and prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth. Dearborn Family Dentistry provides oral appliances based on detailed impressions of your teeth, which ensures a comfortable, precise fit for your device. In some cases, patients may benefit from gentle exercises to relax the muscles surrounding the jaw, stress reduction, or dental crowns to build up worn teeth.
Find Relief Today
Are you concerned that you suffer from TMD? Let us help you find relief and improve your overall health. Speak to a team member today at (313) 565-5507 or reach out to us online.