Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMD) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMD is characterized by headaches, sometimes severe, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing or fullness in the ears. The vast majority of TMD sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat.
A most common cause of TMD is the misalignment of the teeth – sometimes a very subtle bite discrepancy – that results in muscle hyperactivity at night, commonly referred to as bruxing or grinding. This nocternal habit greatly stresses the teeth and can lead to wear on the biting surfaces of the teeth as well as erosions just above the gumline.
Besides this and the associated headaches and tender facial muscles, this tooth clenching and grinding can lead to cracks in fillings or enamel and even breakage of the teeth. There is often increased sensitivity associated with these habits.
Finally, it can lead to loosening of the teeth or loss of the supporting bone around the tooth.
At Fort & Johnson Cosmetic and Family Dentistry we will evaluate your symptoms, order any joint x-rays that may be needed and develop a treatment plan of action for you. Many times this will include a bruxism appliance or “biteguard.” This appliance can be fine-tuned to create an “ideal bite” without altering your teeth at all.
We will advise you about how long you will need to wear your biteguard every day based on your symptoms and diagnosis. Depending on the outcomes you may require additional treatment, varying from bite adjustments to orthodontics or simply wearing your biteguard when you sleep.