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Dental And Surgical Treatment Options For TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder (often known as TMJ disorder or TJD) is a relatively common affliction that can range from slightly discomforting to extremely damaging and painful. TMJ disorder occurs when the jaws that operate your joint become overworked and stressed, commonly locking up and leading to conditions such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and headaches. TMJ disorder has a multitude of causes, including stress, and is often treated through dental work on a preventative and palliative level due to the damage done to the teeth -- which can include loosened and fractured teeth.

Mouth Guards

One of the most damaging side effects of TMJ disorder is caused by bruxism and teeth clenching. When your jaw is clenched -- often when you're asleep -- you can fracture or otherwise damage your teeth. Mouth guards can protect against both this and grinding, which will loosen your teeth over time and which can cause significant damage on its own by slowly wearing down your enamel. 

Arthroplasty Surgery

In severe cases of TMJ, arthroplasty surgery is used to position the jaw properly with a small incision that is done along the ear. Over time, TMJ disorder will displace the lower jaw, because of the tension that is constantly pulling the jaw upwards. This will lead to increased pain and an altered bite, which will again reinforce the TMJ and worsen the side effects involved. Jaw exercises are commonly used before arthroplasty becomes necessary. Arthroplasty surgery is not extremely invasive and usually has a fairly fast recovery time.

Bite Modification

As a consequence of TMJ, a person's bite is normally altered. Bite involves how your teeth fit together, and how your teeth fit together alter how your jaw comes together. A poor bite might force your jaw forward or backward, which will gradually shift teeth further. In TMJ disorder, teeth will often not touch completely when you are biting down, which can lead to loose and shifted teeth later on. Bite modification is commonly done through the use of braces, invisible retainers and other traditional corrective dental devices. It may take a while for the bite to be altered and surgical treatments may be necessary for more serious issues.

If you suspect that you are currently suffering from TMJ disorder, you should contact an oral surgeon, like Miller Kenneth G, as soon as possible. They can complete x-rays and assess any damage that may have been done to your jaw or your teeth.