TMJ Treatment in Janesville
Grinding your teeth at night? We can help!
If you have been experiencing radiating jaw pain, your jaw feels stiff, you have difficulties chewing or opening your mouth widely, or you hear “popping” or “clicking” noises when chewing and speaking, you could be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, often called TMJ or TMD, can be tricky to diagnose and treat. But at Dreier Family Dental, Dr. Brandon Dreier can help you get the treatment you need to eliminate the pain and discomfort of TMJ/TMD. Get more details now.
Bruxism is a condition that causes involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth. Since it most often occurs during sleep, patients don’t realize they have bruxism until their dentist notices the consequential damage. Bruxism can make talking and eating difficult and painful. Even minor cases of bruxism can cause damage or sensitivity to your teeth. Symptoms include, chips, cracks, worn and sensitive teeth, headaches, and a general soreness of the jaw.
What Is TMJ/TMD?
As mentioned above, TMJ/TMD is a disorder with the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, allowing you to move your jaw to chew and speak. It connects to your skull directly beneath your ear.
If this joint is damaged, infected, or inflamed, you could start experiencing quite a bit of pain and discomfort, and be unable to move your jaw properly.
What Causes TMJ/TMD?
TMD/TMJ can be caused by a number of different things. However, there are four causes that are the most common:
- Teeth grinding (bruxism) – When you grind your teeth, a tremendous amount of pressure is placed on the temporomandibular joint. Prolonged teeth grinding can cause TMJ/TMD, and also damage your teeth.
- Inflammatory diseases (arthritis) – If you have arthritis or another inflammatory disease, such as an autoimmune disorder, your temporomandibular joint can become inflamed and irritated, leading to TMJ/TMD.
- Jaw overuse (chewing gum, clenching) – If you chew a lot of gum, or tend to clench your teeth a lot, you could put excessive strain on the joint, leading to TMJ/TMD.
- Direct trauma to the joint (impact injuries) – An impact injury, like a slip and fall, car accident, or hard hit in a contact sport can knock the temporomandibular joint out of position, causing TMJ/TMD
How Can TMJ/TMD Be Treated?
This depends on the cause of your TMJ/TMD. A night guard and lifestyle changes may be recommended for TMJ causes by excessive clenching, teeth grinding, or gum chewing.
If your TMJ/TMD is being caused by an inflammatory disorder, you may be given anti-inflammatory medications. Corticosteroids can also be injected directly into the joint to provide relief.
Damage to the temporomandibular joint from facial trauma may involve ice packs, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and resting the joint by avoiding hard foods and excessive chewing. Surgery may be required in extreme cases, but this is quite rare.
What Is A Nightguard For TMJ?
Nightguards for TMJ, also sometimes called “TMJ Splints” or “Oral Appliances,” are a specialized type of night guard designed to help ease the pain and discomfort of temporomandibular joint disorder, and to promote proper healing.
These nightguards work by repositioning the lower jaw either forward or backward, depending on your situation. This helps relieve pressure on the jaw, and encourages the temporomandibular joint to heal properly.
There are many different types of nightguards and splints available to help treat TMJ/TMD, and the right type of dental appliance may vary depending on your needs. Typically, nightguards are recommended for patients who are suffering from minor-to-moderate TMJ/TMD.
How Do Nightguards Help With TMJ?
There are a few different ways that nightguards can help with TMJ/TMD.
First, wearing a nightguard prevents direct tooth-to-tooth contact, which can help reduce teeth grinding (bruxism). This is a major contributing factor to TMJ/TMD, so mitigating teeth grinding can help you get relief from your pain and discomfort.
In addition, the design of a TMJ nightguard is intended to shift the jaw muscles into a more relaxed position while you sleep. This eliminates strain on the joints and muscles of your jaw, reducing pain and discomfort, and encouraging your jaw muscles and joints to heal.
TMJ nightguards from Dreier Family Dental are not right for everyone, but they can be a good way to treat minor-to-moderate TMJ in most patients. If treatment with a nightguard alone is not effective in your case, further treatments like corticosteroids and muscle relaxant drugs may be recommended by your dentist as part of your TMJ/TMD therapy.
If these treatments do not work, surgery is also an option, but is usually used as a last resort if all other attempts to treat TMJ/TMD are not effective.
What Can I Do To Make My Nightguard Treatment More Effective?
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your TMJ/TMD nightguard treatment, there are a few additional steps that Dr. Dreier may recommend that you take after you receive your nightguard. These include:
- Minimize jaw use – Avoid chewing gum, and try to eat a diet of mostly soft foods like rice, yogurt, oatmeal, and other such foods. Avoid tough, chewy, and hard foods that may place a lot of stress on your jaw muscles and joints.
- Reduce stress – Taking steps to reduce stress, such as meditating, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep can reduce your likelihood of clenching and grinding your teeth, which may speed up your recovery.
- Do TMJ stretches – Dr. Dreier may provide you with a set of TMJ stretching instructions. Follow these instructions to gently move and work out your jaw muscles and joints.
- Cold and hot packs – Alternating heat and cold packs can help with some of the discomfort and stiffness associated with TMJ/TMD.
Schedule A Consultation Today!
The right treatment for your TMJ/TMD will depend on its root cause, severity, your lifestyle, and a number of other factors. We can help you understand the cause of your pain and discomfort, and get relief with a customized treatment plan. Don’t wait. Get relief from your pain and suffering by giving us a call at (608) 752-2931, or dropping by our office at 2630 Liberty Lane, Janesville, WI 53545.
What Patients are Saying
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"Well Done Dreier Family Dental! Happy to say that my first visit with Dr. Dreier was just as smooth as the last 9 years as a patient of Dr. Connie Winter. Wishing you all much success!"
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