TMJ Treatment and Rehabilitation

Treating TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders develop when problems occur with the joints connecting the jaw to the skull. These joints, known as temporomandibular joints (TMJ), along with the associated muscles and soft tissue, are responsible for opening and closing the mouth. TMJ joints rotate and slide, controlling the position of the lower jaw. These joints are cushioned by cartilage discs. Damage to the TMJ discs, problems with TMJ alignment, injury to the surrounding muscles and more can all lead to the development of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD).

Causes of TMJ Disorders (TMD)

TMJ alignment is fragile. Disease, trauma, and lifestyle habits all threaten to damage the TMJ. Patients may suffer a TMJ disorder due to any of the following possible causes:

  • Disease. Diseases can lead to bone and cartilage loss in the jaw, causing the development of TMDs.  The TMJ is at risk of damage caused by Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as cancer and infections of the jaw and surrounding area.
  • Trauma. Injuries to the jaw can lead to the development of TMJ disorders. Jaw alignment can be affected by heavy impacts to the face, neck, and head – even whiplash. Trauma can cause damage to the jawbone and the cartilage in the TMJ.
  • Lifestyle. Grinding and clenching your teeth can lead to complications in the TMJ.  Also known as bruxism, grinding teeth can cause facial muscles to become inflamed and can affect tooth height, risking damage to the TMJ.

TMJ disorders can strike patients of any age. Trends suggest women may be at a higher risk for TMJ disorders than men. TMJ disorders (TMD) have different effects on each patient; the signs and symptoms vary.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders vary by patient.  Self-diagnosing TMDs (temporomandibular joint disorders) can be challenging; many of the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can be difficult to connect to problems in the jaw joints.  Find out for sure if symptoms indicate a TMJ disorder by scheduling a TMJ examination at Houston Dentists at Post Oak. The signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Repeat and/or migraine headaches
  • Jaw pain, difficulty chewing
  • Pain in the face, temples, and behind the eyes
  • Earaches, often misdiagnosed as infections
  • Locking or seizing of the jaw

Over time, the signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders can develop into more.  Eating soft foods, applying ice packs, and other home remedies may offer temporary relief yet will be unable to realign the jaw and repair damage to the TMJ. For permanent relief from jaw pain call Houston Dentists at Post Oak for a TMJ examination.

Permanent Relief for TMJ

Go beyond traditional remedies for TMJ relief and treat the cause. At Houston Dentists at Post Oak, permanent TMJ relief is available. TMJ relief involves a number of visits to our Uptown office before treatments are complete.

Step 1: TMJ Examination

The first step toward permanent TMJ relief is a TMJ examination at Houston Dentists at Post Oak. Digital exams are noninvasive and conducted in a comfortable setting. TMJ examinations include a comprehensive medical and dental history review, and a review of symptoms. Digital images of the head, neck, and teeth are taken.  A computerized bite test helps measure the connection between the bite and facial muscles. This data helps Houston Dentists at Post Oak determine the best solution for relieving TMJ symptoms.

Step 2: Adjusting the Bite

Using data from the TMJ exam, patients receive a fixed orthotic for temporary wear. Orthotics are non-surgical and made of plastic. TMJ orthotics are adjustable and require weekly adjustments throughout the course of treatment. Orthotic adjustments in our Houston office are comfortable and painless.  Patients typically wear temporary TMJ orthotics for six weeks before the correct bite can be determined. After the final adjustment, patients can explore options for permanent TMJ relief.

Step 3: Treating TMJ Disorder

After completing orthotic adjustments, many patients report significant or total relief from TMJ pain. Returning the bite to its proper alignment can alleviate TMJ symptoms completely. Depending on the patient, options for treatment may be available.  Some patients may be able to gain relief from TMJ symptoms with a custom, removable oral appliance. Other patients may require braces to move teeth into their proper place. Larger adjustments may require crowns, for full-mouth rehabilitation.

Full Mouth Rehabilitation

For patients requiring deeper care, full mouth rehabilitation can eliminate TMJ symptoms.  With full mouth rehabilitation at Houston Dentists at Post Oak, crowns are used to complete and correct the smile. Crowns can be used to correct one, several, or many teeth.  Dental crowns for TMJ full mouth rehabilitation procedures are created offsite at a dental lab, using high-quality porcelain, for a natural look and feel. TMJ full mouth rehabilitation may include other dental procedures depending on the patient. To find out more about TMJ relief, call Houston Dentists at Post Oak for your TMJ examination today.

TMJ Relief in Houston

Start living free of the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorders. Treat the cause instead of the symptom. Gain relief from TMJ for good. Schedule a TMJ exam in Houston today.  Call Houston Dentists at Post Oak at 713-255-1029 for more information on permanent TMJ relief.