TMJ and TMD Treatment

TMJ Treatment in Houston TX

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is not just a disorder, but a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and the muscles that control chewing.  Usually, discomfort from TMJ/TMD is occasional and temporary, often occurring in cycles. In most cases, the discomfort will eventually go away whether treated or not. However, if you find that TMD is disrupting your daily activities and would like to discuss treatment, contact Royal Dental today for a complete evaluation of your TMD condition.

treatment of TMJ Houston TXTMD Symptoms

Symptoms of TMD may surface gradually over time and are unique to each patient. Common signs of TMD include:

  • Pain when chewing, yawning or stretching your mouth or jaw joint.
  • Pain in the jaw, neck or face or stiff jaw muscles.
  • Lock-jaw or limited movement of the jaw joint.
  • Painful clicking or popping of your jaw joint.
  • Changes in the fit of your teeth, or alignment of your upper and lower jaw.

TMD Causes

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, called the mandible, to the temporal bone at the side of the head. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can then feel the joint on each side of your head.

Because these joints are flexible, the jaw can move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling us to talk, chew and yawn. Over time this joint and the attached muscles can become stressed, overworked or just painful to use. However, according to the American Dental Association, TMJ problems are caused by trauma.

TMD affects as many as 10 million Americans, and women are affected more often than men.

This was a very nice experience. I’m glad to be back. – Rachael

Click here to read more patient testimonials.

Types of TMD

TMD falls into three main categories:

  1. Myofascial pain, the most common form of TMD, which is discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw functions and the neck and shoulder muscles.
  2. Internal derangement of the joint meaning a dislocated or displaced disc or injury to the condyle.
  3. Degenerative joint disease such as Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis in the jaw joint.

TMD is not just a disorder, but a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint or TMJ and the muscles that control chewing. 

TMD Treatment

If you feel that you might have TMD or are experiencing pain as a result of your jaw joint and movement, it is important to visit your dentist for a thorough examination and treatment plan.  However, many patients who suffer from TMD will not require surgical correction of their condition.  Your Royal Dental professional will assess your unique health needs and trouble areas to determine a measured approach to alleviating your symptoms. This may include, stretching exercises or physical therapy, compresses for your muscles or even prescription medication. If necessary, surgical options can be discussed during your consultation.

Symptom Relieving Treatment Options

It is a misconception to believe that surgery is the only solution to TMJ Disorder. Several studies have confirmed that lasting symptom relief can originate with appropriate dental treatments, such as:

TMJ Splint | TMD Treatment Houston TX

Appliance Therapy

Also referred to as splint therapy, this method of treating TMD has become one of the most common approaches in recent years. The purpose of an oral splint is to decrease the stress exerted on the jaw joints. With less pressure on the joints, surrounding muscles can ease into a relaxed and functional state. Ultimately, splint therapy achieves the conditions that allow the lower jaw to rest fully in the socket. With the joint adequately positioned and the muscles relaxed, pain and chronic tension may disappear altogether.

Bite Equilibration

Treatment for TMD may need to extend away from the joints. Observation of the bite can help us identify where imbalance is present and to what degree. A bad bite may occur if natural teeth do not fit together due to misalignment. It is also possible that the shape of natural chewing surfaces or the chewing surfaces of dental restorations could be the source of imbalance. To balance the bite, a TMJ dentist may then reshape appropriate surfaces to allow the jaw to close correctly within the temporomandibular socket.

TMJ Treatment Results

Home remedies and the use of medication and physical therapy exercises can temporarily improve the symptoms of TMJ Disorder and may be a suitable method of pain management.

TMJ Treatment Results Houston TX

Patients who obtain professional care for TMJ symptoms can experience immediate relief when their course of treatment seats the lower jaw properly in the socket. Correction of existing malocclusion, or a bad bite, can permanently improve function and physical comfort. This is confirmed by patients themselves, who report significant improvement in symptoms. Additionally, scientific research also reinforces the value of professional TMJ treatment.

In one study, 14 patients treated with splint therapy underwent functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to observe the effects that TMJ had on their brains. After two weeks of oral splint therapy, MRI was repeated and indicated a significant decrease in activity in the cerebellar motor and right anterior insula regions of the brain; areas involved in monitoring the body’s overall state.

Diagnosing TMJ Early

Additional research involving 138 patients diagnosed with early TMD found that the use of an oral appliance at night achieved significant improvement in symptomology. Sixty-four percent of the participants in one study reported complete relief from their symptoms. Twenty-two percent reported moderately improved symptoms.

TMD Treatment Cost

The cost of TMJ treatment is calculated based on the procedures that are recommended for each patient. In some instances, dental fees can be offset by insurance coverage. We are thorough in our discussion of treatment details and are happy to help patients understand where dental benefits are available to lower their out-of-pocket expenses.

Treatment Risks

There are virtually no risks involved with dental approaches to treating TMJ. Studies indicate that wearing an oral splint as directed can reduce symptoms without an increased risk of side effects such as facial pain or bite instability.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are experiencing jaw pain or any of the above symptoms, call Royal Dental at our offices in Houston, TX and surrounding areas at (713) 330-7700!

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