You probably think of an orthodontist as someone who fixes crooked teeth with braces. They can also treat a common dental issue: temporal mandibular joint disorder, or TMJ.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is a disorder that affects the jaw joints. It causes jaw and bite alignment problems, as well as pain.
The causes of TMJ can range from grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, a stressful lifestyle, as well as the jaw bone and joint, wear down as you age. Other factors are hyper-mobile ligaments, arthritic conditions and cranial sacral distortions.
Symptoms of TMJ
Some physical symptoms of TMJ include extreme jaw pain and discomfort, headaches, facial pain, clicking of the jaw at the joints, limited jaw mobility, excessively worn out teeth, locking of the jaw, earaches, and ringing in the ears.
Nerve pain and damage caused by the misalignment of the jaw may become permanent if left untreated.
While most TMJ symptoms are mild to moderate, certain symptoms such as limited jaw mobility can create serious health problems such as the inability to chew food properly, which could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Chewing food correctly helps to break down the vitamins, minerals, and proteins that you need to be healthy. TMJ may also create sleeping difficulties due to the substantial amount of pain in the jaw.
Symptoms can get worse at night because your muscles can’t relax. Jaw problems can also make existing sleep issues (such as sleep apnea) worse.
Dr. Ross Can Help
There are several treatment options available through orthodontics for TMJ. Treatment depends on factors like your overall health, medical history, medication tolerance, mouth appliances, and how bad your disorder is.
Common treatments for TMJ include resting the joints of your jaw, stress management techniques to reduce clenching of your jaw, pain medications, mouth exercises, heat and cold compresses, and orthopedic appliances such as mouth guards to prevent grinding your teeth.
Beyond pain relief, orthodontic treatment can give you a long-term fix.
Dr. Ross focusses on splint therapy as a method of treatment. He creates oral TMD splints that relieve the pressure on your jaw joints to lessen pain.
Stop Suffering from TMJ
If you’re suffering from the pain and discomfort of TMJ, come see Dr. Ross for a free exam.