A TMJ disorder is often incredibly discomforting and often requires orthodontic care before the symptoms improve. By understanding more about what orthodontic treatment options are available to patients with TMJ complications, you can make a more informed decision as to when you should visit an orthodontist for treatment.
How to treat TMJ disorders
There are several very effective forms of treatment for TMJ disorders, including wearing a dental night guard and correcting jaw and teeth position. The following is everything to know about orthodontic treatment for TMJ disorders, including what TMJ disorder is precisely and when to consider treatment.
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint between the temporal bone and the lower jaw. The temporomandibular joint is responsible for a smooth opening and closing of the jaw. A TMJ disorder is a condition that causes pain or compromised movement of the joint. It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact factors. However, contributing factors include teeth grinding, facial clenching and stress. Consequently, activities such as weight lifting and sports may increase the risk, although one of the main causes is nighttime teeth grinding as a result of malocclusion or chronic stress.
When to consider orthodontic treatment
Anytime symptoms of TMJ disorder persist, it is important to seek diagnosis and treatment. The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include but are not limited to:
- Pain in the jaw
- Difficulty chewing
- Frequent headaches
- Pain around the ears
- Sensitive teeth
If the symptoms become close to intolerable, linger for an extended amount of time or cause other concerns such as worn-down teeth, it is important to seek orthodontic treatment. An orthodontist can closely examine the teeth and jaw and make an educated diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
Orthodontic treatment options available
The orthodontic treatment for TMJ depends largely on the contributing factors, which include teeth grinding, stress and teeth misalignments. After a thorough oral examination, which may include the use of dental X-rays, the orthodontist may recommend one or more treatment options. These include traditional braces, clear aligners, dental night guard, stress management and improved oral hygiene.
Many orthodontists may also recommend over-the-counter pain medication until the underlying cause leading to the TMJ disorder symptoms improve. The orthodontist may also recommend dental treatment as well if teeth have endured damage from teeth grinding.
How the treatment process works
The first step toward treatment for TMJ disorders is to schedule an initial consultation with an orthodontist, who conducts an oral examination, orders dental X-rays, documents the patient’s symptoms and makes an informed diagnosis. The orthodontist can also recommend an effective treatment for the condition. Additional follow-up visits are likely required depending on the treatment the orthodontist and patient agree to.
Orthodontists help patients with TMJ disorders
If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with your orthodontist’s office or have any questions about TMJ discomfort, reach out today. Your orthodontist will be able to answer and address any questions you have or issues you may be experiencing. Schedule a consultation today.
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