Have you noticed that your jaw joints click or pop when you open your mouth? Do the muscles on the sides of your face feel tired or sore? Do your back teeth ache, or have you been told that you grind your teeth while asleep? These are a few of the most common symptoms associated with
How TMJ Starts
The cause of TMJ disorder can stem from malocclusion, stress, injury, genetics, or the destructive and often unnoticed condition we call bruxism, which simply means teeth grinding. Most people grind their teeth while sleeping, and they become aware of this habit when a sleeping partner mentions it or a dentist sees evidence of tooth wear on molars.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
Jaw clicking, popping, and/or locking
Jaw, ear, face tenderness/pain
Difficulty opening/closing mouth, chewing
What Is TMJ Therapy?
At Dr. Rippe’s Centennial dental office, he can evaluate patients for signs of TMJ disorder. To correct jaw position and relieve symptoms, the doctor uses an oral splint, or bite guard, that resembles an athletic mouthguard. The appliance fits into the mouth and should be worn during sleep. If the patient grinds his teeth during the day, it may be worn then, as well.
The TMJ splint is calibrated to the patient’s needs, so it allows the jaw joints to rest in proper, comfortable position, while also eliminating the potential for teeth grinding. In some cases, before creating a splint, Dr. Rippe will suggest that a patient wear a MAGO splint for a time. This helps the doctor find the proper resting position for the jaw joints.
In some patients, the oral splint will help the brain reprogram jaw muscles, so the muscles naturally seat jaw joints in proper resting position, even when the splint is not being worn. Not all patients’ bodies respond I this way, however. Some must wear the corrective appliance indefinitely, while sleeping, as an ongoing therapy.
Other treatment options include building up back teeth with dental crowns, to equilibrate the bite, or wearing braces to correct the malocclusion that is causing TMJ disorder.
Why Turn to a Dentist for TMJ Treatment?
Dr. Rippe has studied TMJ disorder and therapies. Because the jaw joints are part of the greater oral system, it makes sense that a dentist should treat TMJ disorder. Outside of dental therapy with an oral splint, patients may seek treatment from a physician or ear, nose, and throat specialist. Oftentimes, these doctors will advise surgery to correct TMJ disorder. In severe cases, surgery may be the only viable treatment option. When non-surgical, non-invasive TMJ therapy with an oral splint relieves symptoms, it provides a practical, affordable, and less risky treatment option.
with Jaw Pain
Left untreated, TMJ disorder can worsen, which means pain and destruction will increase. If you suspect TMJ disorder, call our Centennial, CO dental office today at 303-779-9876 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Rippe.