Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder and Treatment
What Is TMJ?
TMJ disorders are a type of illness that affects the temporomandibular joint. Incorrect bite alignment or adjustments after fillings, crowns, or post-orthodontic treatment, arthritis, torn ligaments, clenching, grinding, and cancer are one of the few conditions that can contribute to TMJ disorder.
If you have the temporomandibular joint disorder, you may find it hard to open your mouth wide, experience pain while eating or talking, feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, get headaches often, and feel like your neck and jaw muscles are always tense. Additionally, your jaw might randomly dislocate and make clicking or popping sounds near the joint.
TMJ disorders can become progressively worse and harder to treat (sometimes even impossible). As such, if you have early stages of TMJ disorder, you must see a professional as soon as possible.
It is hard to live with TMJ disorder for many patients in advanced cases. This condition is so complex that most dentists recommend conservative treatment options. This may include mouthguards/nightguards, muscle relaxants, trigger-point injections, and non-steroidal inflammatory medications.
The most common and non-invasive treatment option for TMJ disorders is the mouthguard/night guard. It is a horse-shoe-like appliance made of plastic. The patient wears it at night or sometimes uses it in more severe cases during the day. It is often worn over maxillary teeth (less commonly used on mandibular teeth). The appliance helps distribute the occlusal forces and helps prevent TMJ ligament and muscle stress.
It is highly recommended to have a mouthguard/night guard made by a dental professional. The slightest maladjustment of the mouthpiece (or using over-the-counter appliances) can exacerbate the TMJ problems: Upon closing the mouth, all teeth need to be in harmonious contact with the mouthpiece. Those meticulous adjustments may take 30 minutes to hours during the day the appliance is delivered to the patient.
It is noteworthy that the opposing teeth that do not have contact with the mouthpiece may erupt and alter the normal occlusion. As such, problems may become even worse.
Surgical Options Available for TMJ Treatment
Here at MK Dental Office, we always strive to find the best treatment that suits each patient. If other methods and treatments have not worked in the past, then we may recommend more invasive measures, such as:
- Joint Arthrocentesis
- Total Joint Arthroscopy
- Total Joint Arthroplasty
- Orthognathic Surgery
If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, please get in touch with us.