TMJ syndrome or TMD (temporomandibular disorder) is a medical problem related to the improper function of this jaw joint.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. Everyone has two of these joints, both left and right. TMJ syndrome or TMD (temporomandibular disorder) is a medical problem related to the improper function of this jaw joint. The symptoms for this problem usually are a popping, clicking, or rustling in the jaw joint and can sometimes be accompanied by jaw joint or muscle pain, a jaw that locks in position or is difficult to open, headaches, fullness or ringing in your ears, and even numbness in your face and your fingertips.
At Vita Dental our entire staff always put the health of you and your family first. We work collectively to provide you with a stress free and state-of-the-art experience. We hope you are feeling confident in your smile and your relationship with our team. Our goal at Vita Dental is to consistently provide you with a quality dental experience while you are comfortable in our calming environment. Our team concentrates on creating a relaxing space where you will leave satisfied after your dental treatment. Do not hesitate to call us today at 317-288-4226 with any questions you might have regarding scheduling an evaluation for a TMJ, TMD or Bruxism analysis and join our family today!
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The Different Types of TMJ Problems
TMJ disorders generally fall into three categories:
- Myogenous TMJ problems are the most common type of TMD, accounting for over 80% of the total cases. Myogenous TMJ disorders involve muscle related pain and manifest as discomfort in the jaw, temple, shoulder or neck or muscles, especially when you wake up. This type of TMJ problem responds well with night guards that control clenching and Botox treatment. Nightguards that only treat grinding are typically much less effective.
- TMJ disorders can be a result of jaw joint generated pain. This comes from the internal derangement of the TMJ, which might involve a dislocated jaw, a displaced disc within the TMJ or injury to the condyles, which are the rounded ends of the lower jaw that fit up into the jaw joint.
- A degenerative joint disease, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Vita Dental can treat many TMJ problems. However, internal derangements and degenerative joint disease may require the additional involvement of your physician.
Causes of TMD and the Link to Stress
TMJ problems in a minority of cases are caused by arthritis of the jaw joint or a blow to the face. Most commonly, TMJ pain is related to your genetic predisposition and your stress level. TMD is more evident in high stress occupations and is more likely to occur when you are experiencing a high level of stress. This stress will lead to teeth grinding and clenching and then the associated head, neck, and shoulder pain. In less than 5% of cases, TMJ appears to be the result of a problem with the patient’s bite or occlusion.
TMJ Problems in Women versus Men
TMJ pain is approximately four times more common in women than it is in men. Women report more TMD symptoms and often have associated headache and jaw clenching problems. Men report less pain and discomfort, but teeth grinding is much more likely to be evident than with women.
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The Diagnosis of TMJ and TMD
TMJ problems are usually diagnosed through a detailed examination by Vita Dental. We will look for evidence of TMD on your teeth, mouth, gums, and tongue, palpate the muscles of your head, neck, and shoulders to determine the level of tenderness, measure your lower jaw range of motion, conduct a scan of the jaw joints using JVA (joint vibration analysis), and perform diagnostic imaging (MRI or cone-beam x-rays).
Treatment of Low Level, Episodic TMJ Problems
TMJ pain can sometimes be irregular and diminish without any specific treatment. It is believed that stress plays a major factor here, during times of high stress your body may react by grinding or clenching your teeth at night. If the stress subsides, the clenching and grinding may decrease as well.
If you experience infrequent jaw joint problems, then self-care practices may be enough to control your problem. These could include stress management practices such as yoga, meditation, biofeedback, gentle stretching and massaging of your jaw joint muscles, the application of heat or ice packs, avoiding chewing gum, and not opening your mouth excessively wide.
TMJ Treatment with a Custom Fitted Nightguard
If you are experiencing symptoms of prolonged pain or sensitivity you may require treatment. In a minority of cases, your bite may be compromised such that it is best to have it rebuilt, due to suboptimal tooth or jaw position, utilizing several crowns. And in some cases, orthognathic surgery or orthodontics may be best. Extreme surgical intervention, involving jaw joint disc replacement, is usually not recommended.
For most cases, the TMJ problem can be treated with a specially designed night guard that is worn over the teeth at night.
For the best results, the night guard should be customized to your arch. One-size-fits all retail night guards may not solve the problem and can even make it worse. This occurs because all TMD problems are slightly different: you may be a pure grinder, or you may clench but do not grind, or you may grind sideways and clench just a little, or clench and grind both, and so on.
A nightguard should be custom designed to treat the TMD you are experiencing. This will require a visit to Vita Dental.
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If you have questions about Vita Dental or any of the procedures we offer, please contact our office at (317) 288-4226 or via an online contact form. We will gladly schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your treatment options.
Other Types of TMJ Therapy
Vita Dental relies on nightguard therapy to control most TMJ pain. Depending on the severity of your TMJ problem, cold laser treatments, hot-cold therapy, and cranial sacral massage can also be useful. Vital Dental can discuss these options with you. One of the most effective emerging treatments involves the use of Botox.
Consider Botox for Your TMJ Treatment
Botox is becoming a highly effective treatment for muscle related TMJ pain. Vital Dental injects Botox into overly tight, painful facial muscles to relax them, therefore alleviating the associated TMJ discomfort. Botox also appears to decrease nighttime clenching force, which will also act to decrease daytime TMJ pain. The Botox treatment normally lasts three to four months and can be repeated, as necessary. You may only need Botox once, while other highly stressed individuals may need it on and off for life.
We Love Our Patients!
Our considerate team at Vita Dental is quite confident that you will love our comprehensive, empathetic clinic. The staff at Vita Dental are also your neighbors and your friends. We do our absolute best to provide you with exceptional dental care in a high-quality, relaxing environment. Give us a call today at 317-288-4226 with any questions regarding an evaluation of possible TMJ, TMD and Bruxism, or any concerns you might have.
Vita Dental is a modern dental practice serving Fishers, Indiana, and the surrounding communities. You can find Vita Dental at 11630 Olio Rd, #100, Fishers, IN 46037.