The hinges that connect your jawbone to your skull are called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If this joint becomes injured in some way (such as by a sudden impact or if the disks of the joints move out of alignment), the result can be a painful TMJ disorder. At this point, you have two choices: force yourself to live with the constant discomfort in your jaw, or get in touch with Dr. Parry at Magnolia Shores Family Dental to ask about TMJ therapy in Summerfield, NC.
There are a few different ways TMJ disorders can occur, so we’ll need to discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw first to get a better understanding of the situation. In addition to a visual and tactile check, you may require X-rays or other scans that show the state of the bones involved in the joint. After a diagnosis is made, we can begin discussing the various strategies for TMJ treatment, which will vary depending on the underlying cause of the disorder.
When the teeth don’t come together properly, the muscles of your jaw and neck aren’t able to fully relax, which can lead to severe headaches, tooth pain, bruxism (grinding of the teeth at night), and of course, TMJ disorder. An occlusal adjustment involves modifying the teeth so that there’s even contact throughout the upper and lower arches when your mouth is closed and at rest. This typically means removing a small amount of enamel from specific teeth.
In order to protect the teeth from grinding while also helping the jaw find a more comfortable resting position, we may recommend an occlusal splint. These special oral devices are uniquely made to fit perfectly over a guest’s teeth. They reposition the jaw into a much more comfortable orientation while also minimizing the contact between the upper and lower arches of teeth. Occlusal splints are normally worn over the long term, but guests typically only need to use them at night to see results.
You probably already know that BOTOX can be used to reduce wrinkles, but you may not realize that it can also help relieve jaw tension. Sometimes, unconscious movements of your jaw can contribute to a TMJ disorder. By administering BOTOX, we can paralyze the muscles responsible for such motions, helping the affected areas relax. The procedure is relatively quick and normally takes only about 10 to 30 minutes; it’s also a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure, so you’ll be able to return to your normal activities immediately.
Figuring out the cause of your TMJ disorder and the associated pain is crucial for treatment planning, which is why we use a special device called a deprogrammer. The appliance is designed to be worn at night for a period of two weeks; it gradually realigns the teeth so that we have an idea of what the proper position of your bite looks like. This device might even help you find relief if the source of your pain is the nearby jaw muscles rather than the jaw joint itself.