The temporomandibular joint is a small, delicate connection point between the lower jaw and the base of the skull. If the TMJ becomes irritated, inflamed, or damaged, it can result in discomfort, pain, or even improper growth of the jaws during development. Every examination at Seaside Dental includes a thorough evaluation of your TMJ, and Dr. Meadows will help you determine which treatment option will be best for you. Treatment is typically conservative in nature and can sometimes include a custom appliance or "guard." Once we know the origin of your TMJ discomfort, we can begin treatment!
TMJ Disorder is normally attributed to damage or inflammation in the temporomandibular joint. It can be caused by overuse (such as chewing too much gum or teeth grinding), direct trauma (such as a blow to the side of the head) or even inflammatory disorders (such as arthritis).
TMJ disorder can also be associated with issues with your bite alignment, and can be worse if you also grind your teeth. When you have a misaligned or uncoordinated bite, the force delivered through your jaw muscles will be uneven. This can result in inflammation, excessive strain, and other issues that result in TMJ pain. This is known as “occlusal muscular disease.,” and the doctors at Seaside Dental will conduct an occlusal exam to evaluate your bite while treating your TMJ.
At Seaside Dental, we rely on advanced 3D Cone Beam Technology (CBCT) to aid in examination your temporomandibular joints. We will also conduct a clinical evaluation of your bite, your TMJ, and muscles associated with the joint. This will allow us to determine an accurate diagnosis of your joint, and to formulate a treatment plan for you.
A night guard or occlusal guard may be a good option depending on the cause of your TMJ pain. A night guard is used to help take the strain off of your temporomandibular joint, allowing it to heal. An “oral appliance” may also be used. These are similar to night guards, but are intended to shift the position of your jaw to stabilize the temporomandibular joint and encourage it to heal.
In cases of TMJ pain that that are caused by major bite issues, occlusal equilibration may be required. This treatment involves analysis and adjustment of your bite, eliminating dental interferences to establish a healthy functional bite.