TMJ Therapy in Greenfield
Relief for TMJ and TMD Pain with Nightguards
The TMJs, or temporomandibular joints, are the hinge joints that connect your skull to your lower jaw, or mandible. People with TMJ disorder often hear clicking or popping in these joints when eating. They may habitually grind their teeth at night while sleeping, experience chronic pain in their facial muscles, or have trouble opening their jaws when chewing or talking. TMJ disorder can cause pain in the neck, back, and shoulders as well. Some experience tingling in their fingers and feet, while others have limited range of motion in the jaw joints.
Also called TMD, temporomandibular disorder can be treated. However, when left untreated, TMD's symptoms can increase and cause a substantial amount of pain and dental damage.
How do I know if I have TMD?
A clinical evaluation of your teeth, how teeth fit together (occlusion), and the jaw joints can provide enough information for our doctors to determine whether TMD is a concern. Treatments are non-invasive, in most cases, and if treatment provides relief, then TMD is confirmed.
How did I get TMD?
TMD can be provoked by a variety of circumstances. Patients diagnosed with arthritis or previous injuries in the TMJ can be predisposed to the disorder, as can those with spinal problems. A common cause is bruxism, or the act of clenching and grinding teeth. Stress, injury, and malocclusion contribute to the development of bruxism. In most cases, bruxers grind their teeth while sleeping. Over time, molars wear down, which changes how upper and lower teeth fit together. The jaw joints, then, are shifted from their optimal alignment when teeth no longer hold them in the proper position. Jaw muscles strain to compensate for the improper resting position and become fatigued. During sleep, the jaw muscles twitch and tighten, and this causes bruxism. On the flip side, people with TMJ can develop bruxism. Either way, treatment can bring significant relief!
How can I be treated for TMD?
Fortunately, at BGH Dental, we offer several types of therapy for TMD. We often begin with the least invasive, such as changes in habit and diet, medication, or simply learning new relaxation techniques. A custom-made nightguard may be worn to hold the jaw joints in ideal resting position while you sleep. This can reprogram jaw muscles, in some cases, so that the nightguard is a temporary treatment. However, other patients find success in wearing their nightguard indefinitely. If back teeth have worn down from bruxism, rebuilding the teeth with crowns can re-equilibrate the jaw joints and relieve TMD symptoms. Our doctors will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your situation. The bottom line is that you can find relief!