At Brian K. Rounds, DDS, we offer treatments for jaw problems. Temporomandibular joint/temporomandibular disorder (TMJ/TMD) may be attributed to jaw misalignment and may be relieved by restorative dentistry to correct an improper bite.
The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull on either side of the head. Your bite may be misaligned if your teeth do not fit together. This may cause you to hold your jaw improperly, which may cause issues with the joint, gums, teeth, and muscles in your face.
The most obvious cause of TMD is trauma. However, teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism), particularly when sleeping, is a risk factor for TMJ problems too. The position of your teeth may also contribute to the disorder. A diagnosis from a dentist with expertise in this area is paramount so that the most appropriate restorative dentistry treatments are considered to provide symptomatic relief.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ/TMD?
TMD may cause various symptoms that range from pain in the face, neck, and back or chronic headaches to clicking noises when you open your mouth. You may also wake with a tightness in your facial muscles, particularly around the jaw.
How Is TMJ/TMD Diagnosed?
During your consultation with the dentist, your symptoms are discussed. Your jaw is examined, and the dentist will be checking the range of movement and listening for clicking sounds when you open and close your mouth. The dentist will also gently press the jaw and areas surrounding it to identify if you have any pain or discomfort.
If it is suspected that you have a problem, tests including x-rays or CT scans may be taken to provide a detailed image of your jaw and teeth. These will help the dentist identify the exact steps to be taken to resolve any problems.
What Are the Treatments for TMJ/TMD?
The treatments depend on what the cause of your TMD problem is. Mouthguards that you wear at night may ease the issue if you suffer from bruxism. However, other causes may require more extensive measures, such as orthognathic jaw surgery, where the jaw is realigned. Sometimes, common restorative dentistry treatments can correct the bite to ensure the jaws work properly.
Restorative Dentistry Treatments for TMJ/TMD
Treatment with braces (orthodontics) is the standard treatment for crooked teeth that can contribute to a misaligned jaw, particularly for an overbite where the upper jaw sits too far forward.
Orthodontic treatments include conventional braces which are brackets cemented to the teeth. These are connected with wires, which are tightened at intervals to gradually move the teeth.
Other orthodontic treatments include hidden (lingual) braces, clear braces, and clear aligners, such as Invisalign®.
The treatment is not a quick fix and involves regular visits to the orthodontist over a period of about two years.
Missing teeth may contribute to TMJ. Over time, teeth will move into gaps created by missing teeth which can cause misalignment of the jaw. Teeth can be restored with a range of options, including dental implants, dental bridges, and crowns, or dentures.
If you are concerned about TMJ/TMD problems, seek advice from one of our specialists to find out what treatments may help. Schedule an appointment with a member of our team at Brian K. Rounds, DDS by calling us on (360) 764-5236.