TMJ Disorder/Splint Therapy
When we think of the smile and our teeth, we may easily forget the intricate structure that allows us to chew, speak, and perform various movements. Connecting the jaw to the skull are the temporomandibular joints. While these joints and their correlating muscles, ligaments, nerves, and vessels most often function properly, there are instances in which too much stress occurs and the joints (TMJs) become dysfunctional.
TMJ disorder can be a challenge to diagnose due to the variety of symptoms this condition may instigate. Some are recognizable, while others may not be attributed to the jaw at all. Symptoms that tell you it’s time to consult with your Nashua dentist about TMJ treatment include:
- Noise such as clicks or pops when you open or close your mouth
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Stiffness that inhibits or completely prevents certain movements
- Worn down teeth
- Chronic headaches
- Frequent facial pain or pain in the head, neck, and shoulders
- Ear pain or ringing in the ears
In addition to seeking solutions for the symptoms of TMJ disorder, our dentists also perform diagnostic evaluation to identify the cause of stress to the temporomandibular joints. Sometimes it is nothing more than almost-constant gum chewing that causes temporary irritation. In many cases, the underlying cause is bruxism, a condition in which grinding or clenching occurs during sleep.
When the issue is the over-working of the jaw, lifestyle modifications such as a temporary diet of softer foods and stress-reducing activities may provide sufficient resolution. Bruxism is a chronic habit that often responds well to splint therapy. This treatment involves wearing a custom-fit bite appliance at night to minimize the force applied in clenching. Reducing the force placed on the jaw, the customized splint eases stress on the temporomandibular joints, thus effectively resolving many of the uncomfortable side effects of dysfunction.
Dr. Smith and Dr. Whitcomb have decades of experience in patient care. In our office, priority is placed on personal attention. To consult with a skilled dental team about TMJ disorder and splint therapy, call Nashua Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, P.L.L.C. today.