2 treatment options for your Edmonton TMJ pain
TMJ pain can be difficult to bear. By some estimates, more than 50 million people in Canada and the U.S. suffer from severe headaches, a common symptom of this jaw joint disorder. Other TMJ symptoms are:
- Jaw joint stiffness
- Ear aches
- Ringing in the ears
- Teeth that do not touch properly when biting
- Neck pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- Problems with swallowing
- Shoulder or back pain
- Tingling or numbness in the arms hands or fingers
- Jaw clicking or popping
- Inability to open the mouth very wide
- Teeth clenching or grinding teeth
- Worn teeth
How does TMJ cause pain?
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are the joints found just in front of your ears on each side of your head. Known more commonly as your jaw joints, they connect your mandible (your jawbone) to your temporal bone (your skull). This complex joint is used to rotate your jaw, and move it forward, backward or from side to side. It works in combination with the surrounding soft tissues (muscles, nerves and ligaments) that allow you to you bite, chew, speak, swallow, and yawn.
When you have a problem with your occlusion, the way your teeth meet as you bite down, your jaw muscles often need to work harder than they are intended to compensate. As they become stressed, strained and tight, they recruit surrounding muscles to help out, as well as compress the facial nerves that travel through them. The over-worked muscles can become achy and sore; the compressed facial nerves can send pain signals to your brain.
How can your Edmonton dentist help with a TMJ disorder?
1. Balancing your bite
A TMJ orthotic can help your upper and lower teeth meet in a healthy, balanced bite position. This helps to relax the jaw muscles, which can alleviate painful TMJ symptoms.
There are two kinds of orthotics that are commonly used to treat TMJ.
- One is called a removable orthotic.This type of orthotic is usually placed on the lower teeth. It can be removed for brushing, flossing and eating.
- The second type is a fixed orthotic. A fixed orthotic is bonded into your mouth for between six to twelve months, depending on the healing process.
Orthotics are know as Phase 1 Treatment – restoring physiological; health.
2. Restoring your teeth
Once your jaw muscles have relaxed and your optimal bite position has been determined, your dentist may recommend Phase 2 Treatment. The objective of Phase 2 treatment is to keep your bite in the healthy stable position the orthotic established.
Because TMJ is often caused by damaged, crooked or missing teeth, dental treatment such as orthodontics, or restorations such as veneer and implants may be recommended. An imbalanced bite can also cause you to grind your teeth. Oftentimes, due to teeth clenching or grinding, TMJ sufferers wear down their teeth. In this case, dental bonding can be used to build up the worn teeth.
If an array of dental treatment is required to stabilize your bite, it is called a Full Mouth Reconstruction.
If you would like to learn more about dental TMJ treatment options, please schedule a consultation.
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