Dental Tips Blog

Nov
23

How Tooth Alignment Can Impact Your TMJ

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems are nothing to laugh at. They can involve severe headaches, muscle tension, or uncomfortable clicking, chewing, or yawning. TMJ disorder is also very hard to treat because it is so difficult to diagnose. But sometimes, the cause may be more obvious than you think. Especially is this so when the root cause is connected to your teeth.

First, Visit Your Dentist

Are you experiencing some discomfort in your jaw? Visiting your dentist is usually the best place to start. He or she will have the best opinion as far as to what factors could be influencing the condition, and recommendations as to what steps need to be taken next.

One of the factors causing the TMJ problem could be your teeth. Consider the way your jaw works. Your jaw is a hinge and both arches of teeth need to fit evenly together at the same time for the hinge to experience even pressure. If your teeth are not properly in alignment, this could be causing one side of your mouth to close sooner than the other side. As a result, you may be chewing more on one side and straining the joint and muscles of just the one side of your jaw. Next thing you know, you’ve got TMJ discomfort.

 How to Relieve TMJ Discomfort

You could alleviate the pain with aspirin and heat packs, but you should eventually address the cause before your jaw suffers any more damage.

Your dentist will be able to show you how the alignment of certain teeth could be contributing to your TMJ problem. He or she would then discuss with you restorative and orthodontic options for evening out your bite and taking a load off your TMJ. Get started today by calling your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Alan Horlick DDS
6572 Hwy 92 #120
Acworth, GA 30102
(770) 591-8446

Jul
24

3 Causes of TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ is an abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint,” and it is a ball-and-socket style joint that serves a vital function in eating, breathing, and talking. Yes, we’re talking about the joint that moves your jaw. On occasion, this joint can suffer from any of a variety of disorders. This results in limited movement, soreness, and even aching that radiates out to other areas of the head. What are some primary causes of TMJ disorder?

Habitual Grinding or Clenching

The habit of grinding and/or clenching the teeth can be something that only happens at night while you’re asleep, or it could be an unconscious habit triggered by stress. This habit keeps the chewing muscles tensed more often than they’re used to, and results in muscle-tension and wear on the jaw joint.

Arthritis

Arthritis is usually a genetic factor that will affect other joints in the body in addition to the TMJ. As with other joints in the body, the TMJ with arthritis typically suffers by losing the pad of cartilage that cushions the space between the ball and socket of the joint.

Injury

It is fairly common to experience jaw pain and limited opening after your jaw goes through some kind of traumatic experience. Such as an auto accident or a sport-related injury such as a fall or blow to the face.

If you have any concerns with your jaw, then please notify your dentist. Because TMJ issues can be so difficult to isolate, diagnose, and treat, they are best handled by collaborating with a few medical professionals who have experience in this matter. Talking with your dentist as soon as possible will help you draft an individualized plan of action.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Apr
29

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) is a condition that affects many adults. There’s a lot of confusion about the condition, and many people are unsure whether or not they have it (or they think they do, but it’s actually another problem!) TMJD has several classic symptoms that overlap with other types of orofacial conditions.

Popping or Locking of the Joint

Jaw popping or locking in place indicates that something is out of alignment. The jaw could potentially become locked open or shut for an extended period of time, requiring a professional’s help to reposition it. 

Deviation when Opening and Closing

If the jaw is functioning improperly, it could be due to damage within the joint. This would case the jaw to deviate to one side or the other when opening and closing. 

Severe Pain

Overuse of the jaw joint can cause pain, but if regular things like eating breakfast or talking become painful, then it’s time to have your dentist see what is wrong. Using warm compresses and pain relievers can alleviate temporary pain.

To determine whether or not you truly have a TMJ disorder, your dentist will need to conduct an exam. It could be that chronic clenching or grinding is causing the excessive strain of the joint. This will be determined by palpating your facial muscles, feeling the joint move and assessing the wear patterns on your teeth. A bite splint is usually effective at preventing stress-induced TMJ pain that is caused by clenching and grinding. Some dentists also offer services like Botox or muscle relaxers if the condition is truly restricted to the joint itself. Schedule an exam with your dentist for the pain relief that you deserve.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751

Dec
30

Is TMJ Pain Really Preventable?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ Disorders (TMJD) and pain around the TMJ can make everyday life seem uncomfortable. Whether it’s eating a meal, chatting with a friend, or even keeping your mouth open during a dental appointment – the discomfort can make you feel miserable. What options do you have to treat TMJ pain, and is it possible to prevent them from returning?

Many of the factors that cause TMJD are treatable or avoidable. Take crowded or crooked teeth as an example. When the teeth bite together improperly, the TMJ may have to compromise a small amount in order to get the bite completely closed. This places strain on the joint and tissues surrounding it. By correcting the alignment of the teeth with orthodontic therapy, TMJ pain can be avoided.

Clenching and grinding of the teeth causes additional stress to the joint, beyond what it was designed for. Unfortunately, clenching and bruxism is often something we do subconsciously or in our sleep, making it hard to avoid. A custom, form-fitting bite splint or mouthguard can be made to wear over the teeth. This protects the teeth from wearing down, while also relaxing the muscles around the TMJ. The muscles then have a chance to relax, eliminating fatigue of the joint. Splints can be made very easily, and most patients see results after one or two days.

Do you suffer from TMJD or related TMJ discomfort? Your dentist can assess the function of your TMJ and bite to help you find a way to treat and manage your condition. In most cases, non-invasive therapies are the most successful way to correct conditions like TMJ.

Posted on behalf of:
Mockingbird Dental Associates
99 Mockingbird Dr
Cartersville, GA 30120
(770) 386-3908

Jul
16

Complications from TMJ Disorders

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJD (Temporomandibular joint disorder) is nothing to laugh about. Although a lot of people initially notice the problem when they have difficulty opening their mouth or even eating, TMJ disorders can have a lot of other complications that go along with the condition.

Headaches

Due to the clenching or abnormal function of the TMJ, the muscles immediately around the joint can become strained. This creates fatigue in the muscles around the ear and throughout the head, giving symptoms of earaches as well as headaches. 

Abnormal tooth wear

If the teeth are not biting together properly due to abnormal function of the TMJ, they will begin to wear down. Accelerated wear occurs due to an improper bite relationship, making teeth bite in a way that they were not designed to. This causes the enamel to wear down at an accelerated rate, and not only causes flat, worn teeth, it can also cause damage to existing dental restorations. 

Muscle pain through the neck and shoulders

Just like the headaches, muscle fatigue can radiate through the neck and shoulders as well. Some of the muscles attached at the TMJ extend all the way down into the shoulders and top of the back. Tension creates chronic muscle pain throughout areas that aren’t immediately associated with the TMJ. 

Joint destruction

Damage to the internal disc and bone of the joint can occur if the TMJ is not functioning properly. Your dentist can take an x-ray or scan to determine if damage has already taken place. 

Ask your dentist about non-invasive TMJ therapies. Bite splints are an example of a simple, therapeutic way to prevent strain of the jaw and muscles during stress or sleep. Preventing strain on the joint will also improve the side effects from TMJ disorders.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel 

Google

May
21

Relieving TMJ Discomfort

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Does your jaw pop, crack, stick in place, or battle soreness throughout the day? TMJ disorders can range from mild grinding of the joint to severe discomfort. In most cases, it is best to battle the discomfort or joint disorder with non-surgical, therapeutic methods to relieve pain and increase mobility. Here are a few ideas to help you manage the symptoms of TMJ disorder, including TMJ treatment options at your dentist.

•       Apply a moist, hot compress.

A warm, moist compress against the joint can help relieve swelling and joint discomfort. Some people also find it useful to alternate a warm compress with a cold one every few minutes. 

•       Avoid chewing hard food or overusing the joint

Chewing foods that are difficult due to their firmer texture will place unnecessary strain on the joint. Avoid chewing gum throughout the day as this can place further strain on the TMJ. Stick to softer foods, or foods that can be cut up smaller to make chewing easier. 

•       Take an anti-inflammatory medication

Taking an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen can reduce swelling of the muscles and tissues in and around the TMJ area. Always take medication as directed and under the supervision of your dentist or doctor. In more severe cases, your dentist or doctor may recommend a prescription muscle relaxer for pain management. 

•       Wear a professionally made splint device

Preventing the jaw from experiencing excess strain can be achieved by wearing a customized bite splint. These TMJ splints place the jaw in a resting position that eliminates the locking or clenching of the joint. Ask your dentist about making a bite splint for immediate pain relief during the day or night.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers

Google

May
6

Splint Therapy for TMJ Disorders

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Does TMJ pain have you aching all day long? Sore jaw muscles, or pain through the head, neck, and shoulders are all side effects of unmanaged TMJ disorder. Pain may cause chronic discomfort of the muscles, or just localized sharpness in the jaw. Surgery is often what most people consider as their only other option, but it can actually be much more effective to use non-invasive therapeutic  TMJ treatments such as bite splints.

Having a custom-made bite splint guides the lower jaw into a centric relationship with the upper portion of the jaw, reducing strain on the joint. This allows for rest of the tissues around the TMJ, and re-trains the joint. The splint will also prevent excess wear of the teeth, due to improper joint function or constant pressure on the tooth enamel. The theory behind this method is focused on creating a healthy jaw-tooth relationship that guides the joint into a healthy function each time it is put to use. Splints also prevent overuse of the joint, which is seen in people that grind or clench their teeth often. Instead, a resting space is made to reduce the pressure on the disc and ligaments in the joint, preventing clenching or grinding completely.

If conventional home treatments such as warm/cold compresses, anti-inflammatory medications, or relaxation exercises aren’t enough, then it’s time to ask your dentist about a TMJ splint. The small, non-invasive device can be worn during the day or while you sleep, and is easy to make. Why are you letting TMJ pain control your life? It’s time to control your TMJ pain!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Eberhard, Mockingbird Dental Associates

Google

May
6

Chewing Gum Can Actually Be Good For You?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

If you’ve always thought that chewing gum was bad, then think again. There are some new things about gum that you should know, and that might actually benefit the health of your teeth. That’s all thanks to Xylitol! Xylitol is a unique ingredient that actually prevents plaque from being able to cling to itself or build up on the teeth. In fact, getting as many as 5 exposures to Xylitol a day has been proven to remove just as much bacteria from your mouth that toothbrushing does.

It’s easy to do. Just keep a pack in your car, purse, or desk, and chew a piece after each meal or snack. This works great when you’re not able to get to a toothbrush, especially if you’re prone to history of tooth decay. Xylitol works great no matter what age you are (as long as you’re old enough to chew gum.) It’s also available in other forms such as drops or sprays at your local health food store.

It’s still important to avoid chewing gum if it isn’t sugar-free, or you have TMJ discomfort. Gum that contains sugar can cause cavities like no other, often creating large areas of decay deep within a tooth that can only be diagnosed through an x-ray. Chewing gum will also cause irritation or discomfort for people with TMJ pain.

The next time you’re at the supermarket, grab a pack of gum at the check out isle that contains Xylitol. Many major manufacturers now carry it. You can chew it guilt-free and with the added benefit that you know you’re keeping your teeth healthier.

Posted on behalf of Envy Smile Dental Spa

Mar
27

Therapy Options for TMJ

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ/TMD is a disorder that affects many people all over the world. TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint which is the joint that connects the lower jawbone to the skull. These hinge joints are supposed to move easily, but sometimes they can get inflamed or locked up. This is what is called TMD for Temporomandibular Disorder.

This disorder is most often found because the patient is complaining of headaches, jaw pain, or pain in cheeks or shoulders.   In some patients, TMJ causes a ringing in the ears.  Your dentist will evaluate your case and discuss treatment options with you.

There are a variety of methods used to treat Temporomandibular Disorder with the advice and care of your dentist:

  1. Apply moist heat or ice packs
  2. Eat foods that are soft and easy to chew
  3. Take over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medicines like ibuprofen
  4. Wear a night guard to keep from grinding your teeth
  5. Practice keep your teeth apart when resting
  6. Learn some relaxation techniques to keep your stress level down

If none of these remedies are helping to relieve your pain your pain and discomfort, talk to your dentist about other treatment options. There are other potenial TMJ treatment options including those using radioactive waves and ultrasound. In addition, surgery can be an option in some cases. Your dentist will usually initially recommend the least invasive type of procedure appropriate for your condition.  If that treatment option fails to provide relief, then he or she may recommend trying  a more invasive procedure.  For most patients, one of these ways will provide relief from Temporomandibular Disorder and get you out of pain!

Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli

Google

Mar
13

Neuromuscular TMJ Therapy

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Treating moderate to severe Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ / TMJD) can leave many people feeling like there aren’t a lot of options. At home treatments such as relaxation exercises, applying cold compresses, and avoiding hard-to-chew foods can only do so much. When the pain expands to the point where it causes muscle pain throughout the head and neck, people look to other options, only to find more invasive treatments such as surgery don’t have a very high success rate in the reversal of TMJD symptoms.

Thankfully, many TMJ disorder symptoms can be reversed by using neuromuscular therapy techniques. These treatments address the function of the joint. Some of these techniques involve using bite splints or orthodontic therapies to guide the jaw into the proper functioning position, with strain reduced, and pain alleviated. Bite splints may be worn at night for treating clenching and bruxism, or even during the day. Moderate to severe tooth misalignment can also create compromised functioning of the jaw, as it alters the natural function in order to accommodate biting and chewing of the teeth. Correcting the alignment of the jaws and teeth with orthodontics isn’t just for esthetics, it’s part of a comprehensive TMJ treatment plan and can even be effective for conditions like periodontal disease.

Neuromuscular therapy is regarded as an effective, non-invasive treatment for the alleviation of pain, symptoms, and causes of TMJ related disorders. To find out whether or not neuromuscular treatment is right for you, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist that provides treatment in that aspect of dentistry. Your consultation will include a clinical examination, x-rays, as well as an assessment of your current occlusal condition.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel 

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