Does it hurt your jaw when you bite and chew hard foods? Do you find yourself clenching your teeth when you’re under stress? You may be developing a TMJ disorder. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the jaw bone to the skull, aiding in speaking and chewing.
Damage or stress to these joints can create painful temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Patients with this bite disorder can experience jaw pain, tooth wear, headaches, and other symptoms.
At Brilliant Smiles Family Dentistry, we provide restorative dental care through TMJ treatment in Cadillac, MI, to help patients address their TMD symptoms.
Do I Have a TMJ Disorder?
There are many common signs of TMJ disorders, including:
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism)
- Headaches or migraines
- Orofacial pain
It is important to treat TMD because this condition can wear down the jaw joints, muscles, and teeth over time.
TMJ Treatment Options in Cadillac, MI
Treatment for TMD can include the following:
Dr. Jenicke provides thorough occlusal exams to patients with bite problems like TMD. During an occlusal exam, Dr. Jenicke examines how the teeth come together.
Malocclusion, or a bad bite, can contribute to TMJ disorders. A bite imbalance can exacerbate symptoms like teeth clenching and grinding that wear down the TMJ.
Dr. Jenicke will also evaluate the facial structure and how the bite and joints affect one another. An occlusal exam is the first step to determining where TMD affects patients and what the best treatment method is for their needs.
During this therapy, we use a splint or appliance to stabilize the bite and prevent further tooth wear. Patients may often require an oral appliance if they experience bruxism or teeth clenching and grinding. Bruxism often occurs unconsciously during sleep and can create painful symptoms like headaches and orofacial pain.
Wearing an oral appliance at night ensures the teeth are in proper contact and that the teeth do not grind together. Oral appliances also prevent further wear to teeth and wear on the jaw and facial muscles.
Some oral appliances bring the lower jaw forward to relieve pressure on the TMJ disc, while others prevent clenching because of posterior teeth.
We may refer patients to physical therapists that help them improve their comfort and treat their symptoms.
During physical therapy, patients learn the best exercises for the muscles in their faces, jaws, arms, shoulders, and back. Physical therapists may also use massage techniques on the face and jaw.
Physical therapy helps the jaw relax and also helps patients improve opening and closing of their mouths with less pain. Ultimately, physical therapy can help relieve pain and improve circulation.
Request a Dental Appointment
Do you think you may have a TMJ disorder? Contact Dr. Jenicke today at 231-389-6388. You may also schedule a consultation with Dr. Jenicke on our website.