The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the jaw to the skull bone. In addition to attaching the jaw and skull, they also allow for the smooth movement of the jaw while speaking, chewing, or smiling. When these small joints are damaged or strained, the result may be jaw pain, inability to open and close the mouth without pain, or chronic headaches. Call our office to find out more about TMJ dysfunction (TMD) and TMJ therapy including Equilibration and Occlusal Adjustments.
As with other oral health concerns, we begin by diagnosing the condition and offering the most conservative restoration options. We screen for warning signs of TMD as part of every dental checkup, but it’s important that you let our team know right away if you experience any combination of the following common warning signs:
If we determine you’re experiencing TMD, we’ll begin by helping you adjust the alignment of your jaw using daily stretching exercises, placing you on anti-inflammatory medication, and/or adjust your bite through an occlusal equilibration procedure. In the most extreme cases, we may need to partner with local specialists to provide more advanced treatments or surgical repair.
For those patients who have simply strained their jaw joints due to unconscious movements or whose jaw rests in an uncomfortable position, wearing an occlusal splint during sleep is one of the simplest and most comfortable ways to relieve pain and damage caused by TMD. These custom crafted guards move the jaw to its ideal resting position in order to relieve strain and unconscious jaw movements. Worn each night, these personalized occlusal splints are completely comfortable and don’t impede breathing or speech. After a few days, most patients notice a significant reduction in jaw pain and improved jaw mobility. When worn consistently, these occlusal splints may cause the jaw to rest naturally in this more comfortable position even without nightly use.