General & Preventative Care

TMJ/TMD

 

Nothing about our bodies are simple and the jaw joint is no different. The joint, called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is in charge of many functions such as the way your lower jaw moves allowing you to bite and chew. When the TMJ is not functioning correctly, this can lead to many problems with the teeth, muscles, soft tissues, hard tissues, and nerves. If this does occur, there is a constant pressure that is put on the jaw bones, nerves and muscles. This can cause pain that radiates along the jaw, head, neck, and ear. The result of this strain exists because our bodies are programed to try and put the joint back into balance in a more restful position, which can at times cause even more pressure on the joint, creating more pain and discomfort. The collection of these symptoms is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Common Symptoms of TMD
While every case is different, many common signs and symptoms exist for the patient who is suffering from TMD. The most common symptoms are listed below:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Bruxism (grinding)
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Popping or clicking noises when opening and closing
  • Radiating pain along the side of the face, neck, ear, or shoulder
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)

If you are experiencing any or a combination of these, please consult your dentist for a proper diagnosis and possible treatment to relieve you from this condition.

 

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Treatment of TMJ Disorder

There is no standard treatment for the TMJ patient. Each case requires a diagnosis and treatment plan that is unique for each condition of the joint. Some of the treatment options are simple and while others are more complex. After your initial consultation with Dr. Mauck or Dr. Ricci, the information gathering begins. The evaluation of the teeth, gums, muscles, and the joint itself consists of a clinical exam as well as x-rays that can include an iCat Cone Beam Image of the joint itself. This allows a highly detailed 3-D image of the joint and evaluation of its current health.

  • “Night Guard” or “Bite Splint” – for some patients the muscles need to be retrained to a more ideal position than is allowed by the teeth. A bite splint is placed to idealize the bite allowing the inflammation of the joint to resolve. This removable device can be used full time or only at night depending on your condition and the goals of your treatment. For most patients, this is the only necessary treatment and they can be weaned off of it over time.
  • Orthotic reconstruction – For those patient requiring a long-term option for TMD treatment. Orthotic reconstruction refers to the placement of crowns or veneers that permanently fix the bite and creates a highly esthetic smile as well. After a thorough evaluation of your joint position and use of a full time bite splint, your doctor will rebuild your teeth based on the proven, comfortable position of your joint. This allows for a balanced bite and resolved TMJ issues.

If you are experiencing TMJ Disorder, Dr. Mauck and Dr. Ricci are glad to help you resolve your symptoms. Call our Denver office and ask how we can help you today.

 


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