Treating TMJ & TMD

Providing a Lifetime of Dentistry that Cares

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) occur when the area where the lower jaw is connected to your skull (jaw point) becomes injured or inflamed. TMJ and TMD generally manifest as a clicking, popping, or rustling in the jaw and can be extremely painful, and also lead to a variety of health issues, which include the following:

  • Bruxism
  • Arthritis
  • Lockjaw
  • Dislocation of cushioning disc
  • Trouble chewing
  • Swelling
  • Numbness in the face or fingertips
  • Jaw fatigue
  • Fullness or ringing in the ears
  • Face, neck, jaw and/or shoulder pain

At Brook West Family Dentistry, we are committed to providing our patients with the care and support they need. If you think you may be suffering from TMJ or TMD and would like to schedule an appointment, or if you have any questions, please contact our knowledgeable staff, who will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Beautiful young attractive woman with dental tooth jaw pain expression feeling unwell, holding her chin, isolated.

Types of TMJ Problems

TMJ disorders are generally classified into three categories:

  1. Myogenous TMJ are the most common problems of TMJ/TMD and involves muscle related pain that manifest as discomfort in the jaw, neck or shoulder, and temple. These discomforts are generally noticed most acutely upon waking. The most common treatment for this category is a targeted BOTOX treatment and the use of a custom fit night guard.
  2. Jaw joint generated pain is another common problem which results from the internal derangement of the TMJ. This can involve a dislocated jaw or displaced disc within the TMJ, as well as an injury to the condyles.
  3. Degenerative joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, is another common degenerative consequence of this disorder.

Many of these issues can be treated with intervention, however it is important that you do not let these issues go unchecked for too long.

Treating TMJ & TMD

In a very small number of cases, an individual’s bite may have become so compromised that it will have to be rebuilt using several veneers or crowns, or in some cases, a surgical intervention.

Generally speaking, though, the most common forms of intervention for TMJ and TMD are custom fit night guards. There are a variety of reasons why wearing a night guard may be beneficial to you. One of the most obvious advantages is that doing so will prevent damage from occurring to your teeth and jaw, and will also improve your overall oral health.

Clenching or grinding your teeth at night can create extreme discomfort and lead to headaches, jaw pain, or general mouth sensitivity. Grinding and clenching can end up causing extreme damage that can be incredibly costly to repair. If a tooth becomes cracked or chipped due to grinding or clenching, there are different tooth replacement options available, including dental bonding, dental crowns, and veneers.

Night guards can bring a great deal of comfort and help keep your teeth and jaw safe while you are sleeping.


TMJ & TMD with Stress & Anxiety

TMJ and TMD can be caused by blunt trauma to the face or arthritis, but it is believed that the most common cause is related to an individual’s stress and anxiety level. While this has not been scientifically proven, TMJ and TMD clusters are much more common amongst professionals with high stress careers, such as lawyers, consultants, physicians, etc.

Night Guard Maintenence

It is important to follow best practices when taking care of your night guards. Here is a list of things that you should and should not do.

DO follow these best practices when properly caring for your night guard:

  • Always wash your hands before you touch your night guard
  • Always allow for some drying time before storing your guard
  • Clean your night guard with toothpaste and rinse it with water every night
  • Use anti-bacterial solution for quick rinses

DO NOT do the following:

  • Do not smoke
  • Do not soak your guard in rubbing alcohol
  • Avoid drinking any beverages at night other than water

Beyond that, be sure that you maintain good dental hygienic practices by brushing and flossing at least twice daily and continue scheduling your dentist appointments every six months.

Associated Costs

As is the case with most dental procedures, what and how much of your procedure will be covered will ultimately be determined by your specific insurance plan. Still, many insurance plans cover night guards, although they may not cover the entire cost of the night guards. If you are not currently covered by an insurance plan, or if you have any questions about payment options, please contact our staff who will be happy to discuss your options with you.

High Quality Care You Can Trust

At Brook West Family Dentistry, we are committed to building positive, long-standing relationships with our patients. The way we achieve this is by using state of the art technologies, compassionate and carefully planned services, high-quality work, and personalized care that always places the needs of the individual client first. If you would like to meet our team, take a tour of our facilities, or have any questions concerning how to best diagnose or manage TMJ or TMD, please let us know.

Taking steps to address your TMJ or TMD can make a remarkable difference in the quality of life for those struggling with this issue. Scheduling your appointment for night guards or to discuss any questions you have about TMJ or TMD is your first step towards a confident, healthy smile. To begin your journey towards the perfect smile, please contact us at (763) 561-2273.

Brook West Dentists

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