TMJ Therapy An Overview
At Ridgetop Dental we take a comprehensive approach to treating your oral health. The health of the gums, teeth, and jaw all play an important role in supporting a stable, comfortable and functional bite. Our Reston, VA dentists provide bite analysis and advanced treatment of disorders that affect the health of the jaw and bite.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint which is located in front of each ear and is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw. There are also ligaments and muscles that help makeup the TMJ. This joint is responsible for opening and closing your jaw just like a door hinge. It is also responsible for moving your jaw backward and forward and from side to side. This is why we are able to eat, sing, brush our teeth and talk.
A TMJ disorder is a common bite disorder with no single cause or treatment. Patients who suffer from TMJ often complain of chronic headaches, facial pain, and tension in the neck and upper back. Treating TMJ early on in development can prevent the development of secondary conditions such as excessive wear of the teeth or even tooth loss.
Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Clicking and popping, or pain while eating
- Jaw locking (both open and close)
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (day or night)
- Sensitive teeth
- Unexplained broken fillings or crowns
- Chipped, worn or flattened teeth
- Teeth shifting out of position
TMJ occurs when the jaw muscles and joint malfunction. The malfunction of the jaw could be caused by a range of factors. Determining and treating the underlying cause of TMJ is the foundation for lasting and successful treatment of painful symptoms.
TMJ may be caused by a single factor or combination of the following issues:
- Trauma to the jaw joint
- Arthritis or other disease related joint tissue degeneration
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Dr. Datta is a fantastic dentist. as a networking engineer I am always fascinated by the technology that he uses and appreciate the fact that he stays current and is always improving his skills. He is out of network for…Robert
Dr. Diana is great and really makes you feel comfortable while you're in there. Had a cavity filled and was in and out so quickly. I have TMJ so dental work is my least favorite thing. I'm usually in pain…Laura P.
TMJ Therapy What to Expect
The success of TMJ treatment relies on diagnosing and addressing the functional cause of your individual bite disorder. Dr. Datta will conduct a thorough analysis of your oral health and gather information about your medical history. Combined with digital x-rays and Doppler detection of imbalances in the bite, Dr. Datta is better able to provide predictable treatment for TMJ.
Based on your personal health and underlying cause of TMJ symptoms, Dr. Datta, Dr. Shaw or Dr. Sensenbrenner will recommend the appropriate treatments to restore your oral health and ease painful symptoms associated with TMJ.
Treatment options for TMJ may include:
- Mouthguard/Splint therapy: a custom mouthguard or dental splint can be worn while the patients sleep to reposition the jaw. The oral appliance is designed to protect the teeth and prevent the jaw from grinding.
- Invisalign®: Invisalign can be used to correct alignment issues that may be causing discomfort in the bite. Invisalign clear aligners are a discreet orthodontic treatment that gradually realigns crooked teeth. Dr. Datta is a Northern VA Invisalign® provider and offers clear braces for teen and adult patients mild to moderate concerns.
- Restorative Dentistry: TMJ can cause damage to the teeth. Excessive and prolonged grinding of the jaw can cause teeth to chip or break. Restorative treatments such as dental crowns or porcelain veneers can restore the health and appearance of the smile and bring balance to the bite.