TMD – TMJ Treatment
TMD and TMJ Treatment in Richmond, VA
A healthy smile requires a strong, healthy jaw. Yet many people suffer from TMJ disorder (also known as TMD) pain, which can be caused by injury, arthritis, or excessive teeth grinding. TMD occurs when there is a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint that attaches the lower jaw to the base of the skull. People suffering from TMJ disorder regularly experience intense, constant pain in the form of headaches, earaches, or have difficulty chewing, swallowing, and speaking. At White & White near Bon Air and Richmond, we offer comprehensive TMJ treatment programs to help you say goodbye to headaches and other painful symptoms.
Causes of TMD
Generally, TMJ and TMD pain is caused by the excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth or caused from a poorly aligned bite. For some general dentistry patients, a change in diet or lifestyle may be sufficient TMJ treatment to reduce the effects; however, for others, a more intensive TMJ treatment may be necessary.
TMJ Pain May be Caused by the Following:
- Poorly aligned bite
- Jaw injury
- Excessive teeth clenching or grinding
Symptoms of TMJ and TMD Headaches
Since TMJ symptoms are varied and create a host of painful sensations, you might have difficulty recognizing TMJ disorder. For example, TMJ disorder might be to blame if you have a toothache that is not caused by decay or gum disease. In fact, the pressure placed on teeth by constant clenching and grinding often leads to tooth loosening or loss, which is a good reason to get TMJ treatment early. Another clear TMJ signal is a “clicking” or “popping” sound when opening or closing your mouth, indicating joints are misaligned with their sockets. The jaw may lock sometimes, making it hard to open or close your mouth all the way. Some people with TMJ disorder have ear pain or tenderness. Headaches are another common complaint from TMJ sufferers. People who suffer from migraine headaches often benefit from TMJ treatment. Other symptoms of TMJ include difficulty eating, chewing, speaking, or habitually slurring your words because your jaw muscles are tense and uncomfortable.
One effective, non-surgical TMJ treatment is to wear a bite splint. This is a specially fitted appliance that prevents your teeth from touching one another while allowing your tongue, teeth and lips to rest properly. This appliance relaxes the jaw muscles, restoring comfort and ease to chewing, swallowing and speaking. It also helps relieve TMJ related headaches.
Should you suspect you have TMJ issues or TMD, we will thoroughly examine your temporomandibular joints and bite (clinically known as “occlusion”). We will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth before custom making you a TMJ splint from hard acrylic resin. When you wear the TMJ splint for a specified period of time (you can wear the appliance during the day, at night, or both), your muscles gradually adjust to the new positioning (the process is called occlusal equilibrium). Throughout your TMJ treatment we monitor your progress, readjusting your splint as necessary.
If you are concerned that your symptoms may add up to TMD, we can help! Call our cosmetic dental practice in Midlothian, VA for a consultation today if you are in the Richmond area, including Bon Air!