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TMJ/TMD Therapy

It’s More Than Just a Pain in Your Jaw

People who grind their teeth (whether they know it or not), chew gum regularly, live a stressful life, or have tooth-alignment issues often end up with a painful condition known as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). The temporomandibular joint is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw and lower jaw meet. Because it’s one of the most frequently used joints in the body (we use it for talking, biting, chewing and yawning), when the joint and surrounding muscles are inflamed, TMJ can cause all sorts of problems, including stiffness, headaches, ear pain and bite misalignment.

 

 

 

 

According to Dr. Dan Burgmeier,  here are the most common causes of TMJ:

  1. Teeth grinding or clenching during sleep increases the wear on the cartilage of the TMJ, leading to ear and jaw pain in the morning.
  2. Habitual gum chewing puts extra stress on the TMJ and the surrounding muscles.
  3. Misalignment of the teeth or other dental problems makes it difficult to bite and chew.
  4. Stress, especially when coupled with clenching the jaw muscles, often causes joint and muscle pain.

 

 Symptoms of TMJ tend to be chronic and often include:

  • Headache: Headaches in the temporal region are very common symptoms with TMJ, which are most often due to stress and tightness in the muscles of the jaw and inflammation of the joint.
  • Ear Pain: Patients often also complain of pain in front of, or below, the ear. In severe cases, the entire ear may be painful to the touch.
  • Reduction or restriction of jaw movement which is caused by tightness of the jaw muscles.
  • Popping, clicking or crunching sounds when the joint is moved.

 

Our Goal

We want to help our patients feel better.  We do this by developing an individual treatment plan based off our diagnosis.  We’ll start by completing an evaluation of the joint – looking for problems with muscle spasms, range of motion issues and teeth and/or bite misalignment. Dental impressions are often used to help us diagnose the cause of the problem; in some cases x-rays help us pinpoint the problem if it’s directly related to the temporomandibular joint.

Treatment options vary depending on the cause and severity; the goal is to create an environment where the muscles are relaxed and balanced and the teeth are properly aligned and working efficiently when biting and chewing.

 

Our patients find relief through a variety of treatment options including:

  1. Occlusal therapy: We build a custom-made acrylic appliance which fits over the teeth and is used to balance the bite and reduce or eliminate teeth grinding or clenching.
  2. Correction of bite abnormalities: Corrective dental therapy can include dental restoration, adjustment of bridges and crowns, and orthodontics, which all ensure proper alignment of the teeth.
  3. Other therapies: Ice, heat, anti-inflammatory medications, lifestyle changes and stress reduction.

 

If you, or someone in your family, are experiencing symptoms that might be linked to TMJ, getting proper treatment is not only extremely important, but will provide significant relief in a relatively short period of time. Give Burgmeier Dentistry a call to schedule an evaluation appointment so that we can discuss your symptoms, diagnose the problem, and outline treatment options.

Burgmeier Dentistry

Phone:  (641) 423-0064

Fax:  (641) 421-7544

Email: smile@burgmeierdentistry.com

Serving areas of : Clear Lake IA, Osage IA, St. Ansgar IA, Stacyville IA , Grafton IA, Orchard IA, Austin MN, Fertile IA, Hanlontown IA,  Manly IA, Mason City IA, Nora Springs IA, Plymouth IA, Rock Falls IA, Ventura IA,