TMJ Treatment and Teeth Grinding Solutions
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is at work every time you open or close your mouth to talk, laugh, or eat. We use our TMJ hundreds, if not thousands, of times every single day.
TMJ is temporomandibular joint disorder. Most patients have it and don’t even know they have it. What it is, is there’s a ball at the end of your lower jaw bone that fits into a socket that meets your temporal bone in your skull, and in between there’s a piece of cartilage. Well over time that cartilage breaks down and when they open, there’s either a popping or clicking of the jaw, or deviation of the jaw to one side, and we’re able to treat this with a night guard, or occlusal guard, or a TMJ splint where it stabilizes the joint and prevents further deterioration of that cartilage. Most patients that have it don’t even know they have it and once they have the splint, or the night guard, or occlusal guard, they report a marked difference when they wake up. They don’t have any headaches. They don’t have any discomfort. They are able to function at a higher level during the day. It is a great service to offer our patients.
That’s why at our Hubbard & Leath Dental Rochester Hills, MI dentists office, we look at more than your teeth and gums during our exams and cleanings. We want to make sure your teeth and jaw muscles are working together for your comfort and to make your smile last. Even the slightest problem with your TMJ can trigger painful results. We call this temporomandibular joint TMJ disorder, or TMD. We are also providing TMJ treatment.
Know the Warning Signs of TMD
TMJ problems are often not subtle or without discomfort. However, in many cases, patients have no idea the discomfort they are experiencing can be linked to their TMJ. Those issues include:
- Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw.
- Constant headaches.
- Muscle spasms in the jaw or face.
- Jaw tenderness or swelling in the face.
- Tooth discomfort – sometimes consistent with pain associated with a root abscess.
- Stiffness or pain in the neck or shoulders.
Our Rochester Hills, MI dentists at Hubbard & Leath Dental understand the pain and discomfort that comes with TMJ-related problems. We look at your teeth, gums, joints, and muscles to determine the cause of your TMJ-related issues and set up necessary TMJ treatment plans.
The Causes of TMJ Issues May Surprise You
- Clenching or teeth grinding. The most common TMJ issues are related to patients clenching or grinding their teeth at night. Clenching or grinding puts an immense amount of pressure on the TMJ, causing tenderness, and this habit can even wear down your teeth.
- Trauma. Any hard knock to the TMJ disc can damage the joint and create uncomfortable, long-term results.
- Arthritis. It’s possible for the TMJ cartilage to erode with time, causing muscle and facial discomfort
Most patients who have TMD are unaware there is an issue with their TMJ. We estimate that more than 30 percent of the patients we see have problems with clenching or teeth grinding. In some cases, we can use muscle relaxation therapy to help the patient stretch out their jaw muscles, eliminating the clenching or grinding. Research also indicates that clenching and grinding often occurs during light sleeping, so we discuss ways in which patients can improve their sleeping patterns.
If your problems cannot be helped with muscle relaxation therapy, we can craft an oral appliance for you to wear overnight as a TMJ treatment. The TMJ splint is a small, comfortable device that is placed between the front teeth. The splint keeps your back molars from touching and eliminates teeth clenching or teeth grinding and relieves stress from the TMJ.
The TMJ splint is an affordable solution to your clenching or grinding and reduces the risk of long-term dental problems associated with TMD. Within a few nights of wearing the appliance, patients see their TMJ issues go away. They no longer have to worry about waking up with a sore jaw or pounding headaches.
Both Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Leath are highly skilled in all phases of general dentistry, including cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry, and active members dental societies like the American Dental Association, the Michigan Dental Society, and the Oakland County District Dental Society.
If you are struggling with headaches or have issues like clicking or popping in the jaw, call our Hubbard & Leath Dental Rochester Hills, MI dentists office at 248.266.2528 to schedule a comprehensive evaluation for teeth grinding and TMJ treatment. You also can fill out our convenient online form to book your visit.