Frequent headaches, jaw pain, and difficulty chewing are all common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Patients who suffer from any or all of the above symptoms may not realize that they have a bite disorder until they visit a dentist. At Westborough Dental Associates, we take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating our patients with TMD in Westborough, MA. We seek to understand the underlying cause of any dental health problems before recommending a treatment plan to address TMJ symptoms.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
TMD is caused by stress or injury to the temporomandibular joints. These joints connect the skull to the jaw bone. TMD is a bite disorder because it impacts the ability of patients to bite and chew comfortably. Many patients who have a TMJ disorder may also have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, which often exacerbates TMJ symptoms.
When left untreated, TMJ can eventually cause additional dental health issues, sometimes compromising the integrity of a patient’s teeth due to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. We will identify the source of imbalance in the jaw before recommending a plan of treatment.
How to Treat TMJ Disorders
Our dental office offers several treatment options for patients with TMJ disorders:
We will often recommend physical therapy for TMJ patients. During their time in physical therapy, patients will learn the best exercises to relax their jaw, improve their posture, and create a more comfortable bite. The goal of physical therapy is to restore balance to a patient’s bite, thus alleviating pressure on the temporomandibular joints and the associated symptoms. This is important for maintaining optimal dental health and avoiding further dental health issues.
In many cases, a night guard can address TMD symptoms and help to restore balance in the bite. Similar to mouthguards, night guards are made of hard acrylic that covers the upper or lower set of teeth. Wearing a night guard during sleep prevents teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is often the underlying cause of recurring headaches and jaw pain in many patients. Additionally, a night guard takes the pressure off of the TMJ and allows the muscles of the jaw to relax.
Restorative and Cosmetic Care
For patients who have sustained damage to the teeth due to the effects of a TMJ disorder, we may recommend cosmetic or restorative dental treatment. These types of treatments can realign the bite by adjusting the surface of the teeth or repairing damaged teeth. This could be accomplished with tooth bonding, dental crowns, and porcelain veneers. Made of porcelain ceramic or biocompatible material, we ensure that these treatments blend in with the look of natural teeth for a seamless result.
Schedule a Dental Consultation
Do you wake up with a headache and tooth pain? Are you noticing signs of bruxism when you are under stress? Contact Westborough Dental Associates for TMD treatment today. If you are a new patient, contact our office at 508.342.1519. Current patients can call 508.366.0550. Additionally, you can request a dental appointment with our dental team online.