Restorative Dentistry: TMJ Disorder (TMD) Treatment – Kailua-Kona
The temporomandibular joint is one of the most complicated joints in the body. Also known as the TMJ, this joint is the juncture between the skull and mandible and is responsible for so many actions, including chewing and speaking. It should come as no surprise that such a complicated joint can be subject to many problems. These are known as TMJ disorders, or TMD. Our restorative dentistry team in Kailua-Kona has years of experience treating TMJ disorders, and we can help devise the right treatment plan just for you.
About TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders will often involve the popping, clicking, locking, and grinding of the jaw joint. Jaw pain and stiffness of the jaw are both common when someone suffers from a TMJ disorder.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders have many different causes. In many cases, TMJ disorders are a result of tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. This condition involves the clenching, gnashing, and shifting of teeth at night when a person is asleep. Often it is caused by stress and/or tooth misalignment.
Another potential cause of TMJ disorders is jaw injury. An injured jaw may lead to a misalignment of the joint and other serious problems. Similarly, arthritis can cause TMJ disorders to occur. Identifying the exact cause of the disorder will be key to proper therapy and care.
Good Candidates for TMJ Disorder Treatment
Good candidates for TMJ disorder treatment are people who notice clicking, popping, crunching, or locking of the jaw. Persistent jaw pain is also a common indicator of TMJ disorders, as is limited mobility of the jaw. During your consultation at our Kailua-Kona practice, we’ll evaluate the various structures of your mouth and determine how best to treat your TMJ disorder. Many restorative dentistry treatments may be considered.
The TMJ Disorder Treatment Options
There is no one way to address a TMJ disorder. Since there are many different potential causes, we will need to evaluate the structures of your mouth as well as your dental health and possibly even your medical history. Some common treatment options are listed below.
Night Guards: Night guards are retainers worn at night that prevent teeth from clenching together during sleep. This will reduce strain on the jaw and damage to the teeth.
Orthodontic Treatments: Since tooth misalignment is a common cause of bruxism and TMJ disorders, braces or Invisalign® are common treatments to consider.
Dental Crowns: If teeth are poorly aligned or uneven, dental crowns are sometimes used to help improve alignment and contacts between teeth.
Relaxation Activities and Stress Relief: Stress and anxiety can cause bruxism and clenching, so relaxation techniques may prove helpful for reducing jaw problems.
Cortisone Injections: If arthritis is the cause of the TMJ disorder, cortisone injections can be helpful to reduce stiffness and pain in the jaw joint.
Jaw Surgery: In extreme scenarios, jaw surgery may be necessary to remedy the TMJ disorder. This may involve rebuilding the cartilage pad in the jaw or other options.
When you come to our Kailua-Kona practice for TMJ disorder treatment, we’ll be sure to cover all of these therapies in full detail so you know exactly what to expect each step of the way.
Risks and Benefits of TMJ Disorder Treatment
There are plenty of benefits to undergoing TMJ disorder treatment. The most important benefit is the restoration of comfort, function, and alignment of the jaw. Any locking, popping, or clicking is less likely once you’ve undergone TMJ disorder treatment.
There are few risks involved in TMJ disorder treatment, though the limited risks will vary depending on the treatment plan that is used. In order to minimize risks, we will work carefully to identify the exact cause of your TMJ disorder and then use the most conservative treatment plans possible to remedy the root problem.
Learn More About TMJ Disorder Treatment in Kailua-Kona
A TMJ disorder can mean more than just an annoying clicking or popping of the jaw. It’s important that you get any jaw pain or stiffness looked at as soon as you notice it so a minor problem doesn’t become a major hassle later on. To learn more about TMJ disorders and their treatment, contact our Kailua-Kona practice for restorative dentistry today. We look forward to your visit and our discussion about your dental health.