Improperly aligned jaws can strain your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and cause a range of severe issues known as TMJ disorders (TMD). Associated symptoms can include pain and discomfort that extend far beyond the jaw. Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group offers TMJ treatment for TMD at their office in Boston, MA. Our advanced TMD treatment identifies and corrects the real causes of the painful condition, not only the obvious symptoms. We use innovative techniques to realign the jaw with mouth guards, restorations, and in some cases, surgical procedures. To learn more about relieving your pain and restoring your comfort, contact our practice today.
Causes and Symptoms of TMD
TMD is often characterized by pain in either or both of your jaw joints. However, discomfort can develop from a range of causes, and in a variety of areas:
- Jaw: Erosion or misalignment of the articular disk in the jaw joints is one of the most common causes of TMD. This deterioration can result in significant pain to the connective tissues of the jaws.
- Head and face: TMD often causes recurrent migraine headaches. The condition can also cause unexplained facial pain.
- Teeth and gums: Pain in the teeth and gums usually occurs in the most prominent area worn from a misaligned bite.
- Neck and shoulders: Overcompensating to chew and speak can strain the jaw, with tension that extends to the muscles of the neck and shoulders. This discomfort can also affect posture, resulting in further pain.
Beyond the strain and aches associated with TMD, there are other signs that can signify you may be suffering from this condition. Common symptoms include an inability to fully open or close your mouth, a clicking or popping sound when moving your jaw, and stiffness in the jaw joints. Another common characteristic of TMD is clenching or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism. This unconscious action can affect patients while they are awake or asleep, and can cause significant wear and damage to teeth.
Boston Prosthodontics uses sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology to take readings and scans of your jaw to provide the most accurate, precise diagnosis and TMJ treatment.
The first step to successful TMJ treatment is to find the underlying cause and detect where the misalignment occurs. Boston Prosthodontics uses sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology to take readings and scans of your jaw to provide the most accurate, precise diagnosis and treatment.
The most common corrective treatment for TMD is a specially designed mouth guard that balances your bite. This oral appliance is typically worn at night, but you may be required to wear it during the day if you suffer from severe TMD. However, the device can quickly alleviate pain and discomfort as it relieves pressure and strain on your jaw joints. Some patients may require surgery or orthodontics to correct significant jaw alignment issues. We can refer you to a specialist who we have worked with and trust to safely and effectively treat TMD.
For patients whose bruxism has severely damaged or worn teeth, our doctors may recommend custom crowns, bridges, or other restorative procedures to improve your oral health. We will be sure to create high-quality restorations to improve both the function and aesthetics of your smile.
Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Symptoms
There are also lifestyle changes you can make in your daily routine to alleviate TMD related issues:
- Avoid overuse of the jaw muscles by eating smaller bites, choosing softer food, and staying away from sticky and chewy foods.
- Perform a number of stretches and massages that we recommend to help relieve tension in your jaw.
- Apply hot or cold compresses as directed to relax jaw muscles.
TMJ treatments target the root of painful TMD symptoms, and can dramatically improve your quality of life. Contact our practice today to have our specialists provide accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.