TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) act like hinges that can also slide, connecting your jawbone to your skull on both sides of your face. TMJ disorders are known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Untreated, TMD can cause tension headaches, pain in the jaw muscles and jaw joints, ear fullness/aching, pain with chewing, restricted mouth opening and noises or clicking in the jaw joint(s).
Common Causes of TMD include:
- Clenching and grinding your teeth
- Trauma or injury
- Damage to the disk
- Genetics (research is still underway)
Thankfully, there are readily available treatments for TMD. Call our office to schedule a consultation if you are experiencing pain or tenderness in your jaw, reduced range of motion with opening or your jaw locks when opening or closing.
We will evaluate your range of motion, any noise in your jaw joint, examine areas around the jaw for pain and determine whether any teeth could be causing the pain. If necessary, radiographs may be suggested.
With TMD, the goal is conservative treatment modalities. Some mild cases of TMD may only require self care, while others may require physical therapy, splint therapy, counseling or medications. In very rare cases, surgery or Botox may be suggested.
Sleeping well is an important part of living well each day. At Lake Superior Dental, we are committed to improving our patients’ overall health. Dentists are in a unique position to assist physicians in identifying patients that may have sleep apnea issues. We are able to do a brief screening for obstructive sleep apnea and may encourage you to speak with your physician or a sleep physician.
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by your physician, we may be able to assist in your treatment if a CPAP isn’t working for you. We use an appliance called a mandibular advancement device that works by moving your lower jaw forward, thus opening a portion of your upper airway. It has been shown to be greater than 90% effective for snoring, greater than 80% effective for mild apnea and greater than 70% effective for moderate apnea.
If you are interested in a mandibular advancement device, we will start with an exam to determine if an appliance may work for you. If you have any further questions about our process and services, please feel free to give us a call.