A TMJ disorder may develop for any number of reasons:
• lost or crooked teeth
• teeth that fit together poorly (malocclusion = bad bite)
• degenerative arthritis
• various head or neck injuries including whiplash
• stress causing clenched teeth (bruxism) and muscle spasms
Because other types of pain have been shown to mimic a TMJ disorder, a careful and thorough dental and medical evaluation is essential to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. If your condition indicates causes other than dentition, you may be referred to another member of the health care team or a specialist for further diagnosis and treatment (a physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.).
If a malocclusion is detected, and the vast majority of TMJ disorders are the result of malocclusion, your teeth may require some restoration to improve the alignment of your “bite” and TM joints. This would be preceded by provisionally aligning your head/jaw in the correct posture by means of an orthopedic appliance.
If an orthotic is prescribed, you may be instructed to wear it during the course of your day (24/7). Additionally, treatment for immediate relief of pain and muscle spasm may be prescribed along with muscle relaxers, pain killers, heat compresses or ice packs, or micro-current electrical stimulation. Posture correction, specialized exercises to improve jaw muscle flexibility and strength and soft diet may also be prescribed.
To relieve stress and anxiety, biofeedback, relaxation techniques or psychological counseling may be employed. Only in “rare” cases is surgery required to correct a TMJ Disorder.
If you suffer pain or discomfort you believe may be related to you TM joints, please ask Tucson dentist Dr. Light for help. The successful treatment of many TMJ Disorder sufferers begins with gentle, experienced care. Dr. Light is credentialed by the American Academy of Pain Management, and is board certified by the American Board of Craniofacial Pain. He is a Fellow of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics, an academy of the study of the biophysics of head, neck and facial pain.
Call us today…520-297-9069 and begin alleviating the pain from your TM disorder.