TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that moves the lower jaw. Problems with the TMJ may also be called TMD–the “d” stands for disorder”–or TMJD. (On our website, we’ll just call it TMJ to keep things simple.) Dr. Rainey of Comprehensive Family Dental has trained with specialists at the Pankey Institute and elsewhere to learn the best ways to treat TMJ, headaches, and teeth grinding.
Dr. Rainey has suffered from TMJ disorder himself, so he’s experienced TMJ from both sides of the office chair–and he also knows that it can and will get better if properly treated. There is not a one-size-fits-all treatment for TMJ pain–every individual is different. Most patients respond well to a bite splint, while some patients fare better with a different appliance. Sometimes Comprehensive Family Dental will recommend incorporating physical therapy into the treatment to get the last bit of relief. Just know that your Victoria dentists can help you—and that you’re not alone!
You don’t have to live with this pain—and it can cause long-term damage to the TMJ joint, teeth, and cause headaches. Your Victoria dentists can treat these conditions with our bite splint and other noninvasive treatments—get in touch with us today!
TMJ is a dysfunction with or without pain anywhere in the teeth and or the joint. Sounds a little confusing right? There is a wide variety of signs and symptoms. Some people may not have pain, but may have TMJ damage. Others may have headaches or migraines. Many will hear or feel a clicking noise near the ear when eating or opening the mouth. The teeth may be sore with no visual sign why. Ringing or pain in the ears can also be symptoms, as can unexplained pain behind the eyes. There are numerous studies that have indicated a high percentage of patients who have TMJ are grinding their teeth due to a breathing disorder or sleep apnea.
Rather than nightguards, Comprehensive Family Dental uses bite splints. This is because we are trying to reposition the jaw joint up into its proper anatomical position in the socket, which is the most restful position for the joint and teeth. Store-bought guards tend to be uncomfortable and wear out quickly; may help for a while and then not help at all; or cause wearers to clench their teeth even more due to their soft plastic construction. Bite splints we make in the office are customized for your individual bite for greater comfort and longer, more effective wear.
Cold Laser TMJ therapy has the capability to alleviate acute TMJ pain. It also accelerates the healing process of the ligaments and other tissues in the TMJ by improving mitochondrial function and lymph drainage.
The cold laser does not cut or burn and is not painful to use—in fact, it typically stops the pain. We can use it not only on the TMJ, but any and all associated muscles that are painfully involved with the TMJ symptoms.
Other names for this laser treatment are Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), photobiomodulation, or photobiostimulation; all these terms mean the same thing. Laser light is used at a low level that does not damage the tissues but stimulates healing and reduces pain signals.
The “ball” of the ball and socket joint of the jaw can be positioned out of the socket to some degree by the muscles. This is usually done to avoid a tooth that may be hitting harder than the others. It can also be positioned this way so that all the teeth can come together at the same time. Some reasons why the difference in where the teeth come together and the jaw not being in the socket can occur naturally from habit or as a result of braces if it was not taken into account during orthodontics.
Sleep Apnea is another condition that is correlated with nocturnal teeth grinding. There is a high degree of correlation between nighttime teeth grinding and breathing issues like sleep apnea. Intermittent between the non-breathing episodes, there will often be severe teeth grinding which is the body’s mechanism to open the airway and get more oxygen into the bloodstream. So, sleep breathing disorders are a common cause of TMJ and severely worn teeth.
Read more about this topic on our sleep apnea and dental snoring treatment page.
Our office is conveniently located off East Mockingbird Lane, between John Stockbauer Rd., and Sam Houston Dr.
110 Professional Park Dr.
Victoria, TX 77904
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