WHAT CAUSES TMJ?
When you speak, eat, and/or grind your teeth under tension, your teeth work against each other. How your teeth come together is referred to as your occlusion. You have a unique occlusion because your teeth are of different size, shape, and position than anyone else’s. It is very common for people to have what is referred to as mal occlusion. This means their teeth come together in a way that they interfere with each other, putting tension on the joints and muscles of the jaws, and often creating wear patterns on the teeth themselves.
Although tooth interferences are not normal or desired, most people have them. The repeated stress of tooth interferences can cause mild to severe tooth wear, cracked or broken teeth (especially around older silver fillings), loose teeth, jaw pain, ear pain, and head and neck pain. The term commonly associated with these signs and symptoms is TMJ or TMD, standing for temporomandibular joint disorders.
It is very common for people who have TMJ to be bruxers. This means they grind their teeth during the night and may clench and grind their teeth during the daytime, especially under tension.
HOW CAN TMJ THERAPY BENEFIT ME?
Dr. Magee has pursued advanced dental education to develop skills in recognizing the signs of occlusal TMJ and providing appropriate treatment. Through this treatment you will be able to:
- Stop occlusal damage on your natural teeth, dental restorations, jaw joints and even jawbones and gum tissue.
- Eliminate the discomfort associated with TMJ.
- Enable your body to begin healing—to start reversing the damage to your jaw joints, jawbones, and muscles.
- Proceed with restorative dental treatment on damaged teeth or damaged dental restorations because your new restorations will be spared potentially damaging forces.
What does TMJ therapy commonly involve?
The jaw joints need to be relieved of pressure and “stabilized” in a better position. This will be accomplished during your TMJ Therapy by using bite splint therapy prior to modifying the way your teeth come together. A therapeutic bite splint will protect your teeth if you grind them during the night, while at the same time relieving stress on your jaw joints, jawbones, muscles, nerves, and teeth. A custom-made bite splint, also called a night guard, will be designed to keep your jaw in a stable, slightly open position, to provide a plane on which your opposing teeth can comfortably slide without creating tension and friction that can wear away tooth enamel.
Your bite will likely be equilibrated. This will be done by modifying the top surfaces of your teeth to change how they come together. By removing interferences, Dr. Magee can equalize the load of your bite so that the jaw joints, muscles, and teeth all work in harmony.
Sometimes, jaw joint stabilization and equilibration are not enough or cannot be accomplished until orthodontic treatment moves the teeth into healthier alignment. Orthodontics may also provide esthetic enhancement of your smile.
TMJ Treatment eliminates its painful symptoms. The treatment also increases the likelihood that you can avoid more restorative dentistry and severe jaw joint damage as life goes on. Every time Dr. Magee examines you at Clifford Family Dentistry, he will look for signs of occlusal problems and ways to improve your bite, with the goal of protecting your teeth long term.
Learn More about TMJ Treatment Options
To find out more about TMJ, receive a careful and thorough TMJ diagnosis, and learn what treatment options are best for your circumstances, schedule an appointment for TMJ Treatment at Clifford Family Dentistry today. Dr. Magee expertly treats TMJ patients in the greater Orlando area, including Orlando, Longwood, Casselberry, Lake Mary, and Altamonte Springs. If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMJ, don’t hesitate to call and receive TMJ Therapy that will improve both your quality of life and significantly reduce your need for future dental restorations.
For a textbook definition of TMJ, read this article.