Do you know anyone who suffers from constant headaches or feels pain when they eat? As mentioned in my previous article about offering services as a Columbia dentist, in South Carolina, I would like to provide you some information on TMJ dentistry too!
The TemporoMandibular Joints (TMJ) are located at either side of the face, and are the joints which allow a full range of motion in the lower jaw. The correct functioning of these joints is essential for eating and speaking.
There are often problems associated with these areas however. People sometimes will feel pain and discomfort when attempting to open their mouths or chew their food. These problems can be overcome with an effective treatment of TMJ dentistry.
Problems with these joints will often present themselves in a condition known as TemporoMandibular Dysfunction. There are many symptoms of this condition, most noticeably the inability to open the mouth wide, or at all.
A person suffering with TemporoMandibular (TMD) will often feel pain around the joints and the jaw itself, as well as sensitive teeth. It can also cause ear-aches, headaches, and a stiff, sore neck.
People with TMD also experience a grinding or clicking noise when they chew food, which may or may not cause pain.
What Are Some Of The Causes Of TMD?
TMD is caused by malocclusion, which is when the person’s jaws are misaligned and excess stress is placed on the muscles and tendons used for talking and eating. That constant pressure caused by the misalignment thus creates the pain the person experiences.
It is for this reason that specialist TMJ dentistry is essential in alleviating the symptoms of this condition and correcting it. Your dentist will understand the complete workings of the jaw system, including how all the muscles and tendons connect to the TemporoMandibular Joints.
TMJ dentistry involves the use of many methods to determine the nature and severity of the problem. Your dentist will examine the resting position and muscle strength of the jaw with the use of x-rays and technologically advanced instruments for tracking the movement of the jaw.
When a complete analysis of the upper and lower jaws, joints, muscles, and tendons has been made your dentist will be able to decide upon the best course of treatment.
TMJ dentistry will involve first attempting to realign the jaws temporarily before implementing a permanent solution. Pain can be alleviated in the short term with the use of Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS).
Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation
With TENS, low frequency pulses are used stimulate blood flow around the affected areas, which relaxes the surrounding muscles as well as encouraging the relief of natural endorphins.
With the symptoms relieved you dentist can work to realign the positioning of the jaws. This may involve the patient wearing an orthotic in order to set the position of each jaw correctly. The orthotic is made of malleable plastic, which allows you dentist to continually adjust the alignment of the jaws until he or she is satisfied that they are perfectly positioned.
There are various methods used in TMJ dentistry to permanently address the causes of TMD. One of the most common is for braces to be used for realignment purposes. Realignment can also be achieved by increasing the size of teeth with the use of crowns.
Alternatively, coronoplasty is a procedure whereby the enamel of the teeth is reshaped slightly. Finally, a patient may be issued with a permanent orthotic to correct the positioning of their jaws.
Your dentist will be able to advice as to which of these procedures would be most effective in each individual case. It is important for people who are suffering with TMD to realize that with specialist TMJ dentistry their pain can be alleviated and their condition cured.
If you live in Irmo and the Columbia area of South Carolina, feel free to contact Dr. Gregory Wych with any of your questions about TMJ treatments toll-free at 803-781-1600 today!