Dental appliances are custom fitted by dentists and worn to adjust your bite. Bite guards, splints and other appliances reposition your jaw and cover any abnormalities in the biting surface of your teeth. Repositioning the lower jaw into the socket relieves discomfort and allows the muscles to work more efficiently. A bite guard can also minimize tooth grinding, which can aggravate TMJ disorders and cause muscle pain.
2. Occlusal Equilibration
Missing teeth and jagged or missing fillings can create an uneven biting surface, making it difficult for your jaw to close properly. Your dentist can balance the surfaces of your teeth by reshaping them. This allows your jaw to close effectively, improves positioning in the socket and can decrease jaw pain and other TMJ symptoms.
Structural problems with your bite may also result in TMJ symptoms. A misaligned jaw and small mouth are examples of structural problems. Structural problems can also be caused by traumatic injuries. Orthodontists commonly use braces to treat structural problems and permanently improve the position of your jaw. Technological advances in orthodontics have made dental braces a viable option for adults as well as children.
Several different types of medication are used to treat the symptoms of TMJ. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications that decrease discomfort by reducing inflammation and relaxing the jaw muscles. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also be ordered if stress and anxiety are intensifying your pain. Botox injections are another medication option. Injected into your jaw and chewing muscles, this medication blocks nerve impulses and causes a temporary relaxing of the muscles.
Some cases of TMJ don't respond to conservative treatments. Surgical options vary depending on your particular situation. Cleansing and minor repairs to the inside of your jaw joint can be accomplished by an oral surgeon through arthrocentesis and arthroscopy. Open-joint surgery, however, may be the only option if your TMJ is the result of complex conditions such as bone trauma, scarring or tumors.
A thorough exam and evaluation by a qualified dentist is the first step in finding relief from your clicking jaw and other symptoms of TMJ. Understanding the cause of your TMJ disorder can assist you and your dentist in determining what treatment will work best for you.