With prosthodontic treatment, we hope to restore function, balance, and yes, beauty to your smile again, addressing issues such as a weakened or damaged jaw, or even missing teeth. But we can also address a strained smile that develops a painful disorder known as TMJ disorder, or TMD. In today’s blog, your Prairie Village, KS, dentist talks about how to recognize and treat issues like TMD.
The Factors Behind TMD
The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw and skull, and they’re responsible for the movements necessary to eat and speak. When these same joints become strained, this could lead to TMD, and with it, eventually difficulties fully opening and closing your mouth. You could also experience a host of uncomfortable symptoms! The causes vary, but could include tooth loss, misalignment, injury to the face or jaw, or even complications with the growth of the jaw and eruption of the teeth. As part of your treatment, we will carefully examine the smile with advanced technology to assess the factors behind your TMJ issues.
Common Warning Signs
People with the disorder could report a number of different symptoms, including a popping or clicking sensation in the jaw, aches in the face and jaw, headaches and migraines, and pain in the neck and shoulders too. If you have persistent aches around your face and neck, then please let us know so we can offer a diagnosis with precision and accuracy!
The Bruxism Link
Bruxism refers to chronic teeth grinding, which could wear down teeth and even crack or chip them, so your smile is more susceptible to tooth decay and infection. Untreated bruxism could cause TMJ disorder, and likewise, TMJ dysfunction could mean chronic teeth grinding. If you have bruxism, you may experience tooth sensitivity and toothaches, or notice teeth that appear shorter than usual, or have begun to be chipped or cracked.
For many of our patients, we can offer relief with an oral appliance. We will first gather digital images of your smile and use them to create a 3D impression. Using this impression, we design and fabricate an oral appliance that is worn as you sleep. The device will shift the jaw to ease pressure, and also puts a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth to prevent further damage. For the damaged teeth, we can offer repair with dental bonding in one visit, or discuss the placement of a custom-made dental crown.
Do You Have Questions About TMD?
If you have any questions about how to address joint strain, please contact Dr. Stuart Dexter, Prosthodontist in Prairie Village, KS by calling 913-362-8200 to schedule an appointment and bring relief to the strain and stress on your smile!