TMJ Disorders

Flagstaff Downtown Dental – Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

 

Flagstaff dentists Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud treat non-severe TMJ and associated muscular problems in his Flagstaff office. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.



No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Flagstaff dentists Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

 

Contact us with any questions or to make an appointment.

 

Trouble With Your Jaw?

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the cushion of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.

Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.

Treatment

There are various treatment options that Dr. Bacon or Dr. Lerud can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Bacon or Dr. Lerud will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.

The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:

  • Resting your jaw
  • Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating. (Stop daytime clenching)
  • Eating soft foods(things such as gum and sunflower seeds may exacerbate the situation.)
  • Applying ice and heat
  • Exercising your jaw
  • Practicing good posture

Splint Therapy

Dr. Bacon or Dr. Lerud may recommend a clear plastic appliance known as a splint. The splint (or nightguard) that Dr. Bacon or Dr. Lerud makes fits over your top teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night and helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear. The cost of an upper splint at Dr. Bacon and Dr. Lerud‘s Flagstaff dental office is a very competitive $600. A few dental insurance companies (W.L. GORE, for example) pay 80% of the cost, but most of the time splints are not covered.

To evaluate your TMJ problems and find a solution, call us at Flagstaff Office Phone Number 928-774-1168 today!