Relieve Pain with TMJ Treatment
Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, can have painful symptoms and impact your long-term oral health. This condition results when the jaw joints break down and degenerate. This can make it more difficult to eat comfortably as well as open and close your mouth. TMD is often considered to include facial pain relating to fatigued or overworked jaw muscles. For a variety of reasons, the bite or the way the teeth fit together, can contribute to muscle and/or joint pain and breakdown. Our doctors, Kenneth Bagby and Erica R. Stokke, approach TMJ treatment using oral appliance therapy to help diagnose and manage your condition. This device is precision fit to your teeth and bit to protect your teeth from excessive wear and reduce the risks for further joint and muscle damage. It is a reversible, approach and can be required to diagnose conditions needing more permanent treatment for long term stability. Our doctors and supporting staff in Billings, MT, will work together to design a treatment plan that is entirely suited to your needs and lifestyle.
The Impact On Your Health
Untreated TMJ disorder can lead to a variety of issues that can affect your oral health and overall well-being. These include:
- Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism can cause tooth enamel to wear, teeth to fracture, chip, and loosen. Bruxism can also increase tooth sensitivity and result in pain or soreness in the jaw muscles, neck, or around the face. Joint degeneration often noticed as ‘popping’ or ‘clicking’, can affect the ability to open or close, including pain
- Damage to the jawbone
- Continuous wear on the cartilage in your jaw can compromise its form and function. Your jawbone may begin to erode or become dislocated. This can also impact your bite, causing misalignment and reversing results of previous orthodontia.
- Patients with chronic dental pain may avoid eating healthy foods like fruits or vegetables, which may be more difficult to chew. A limited diet can lead to malnutrition and systemic issues.
- Ear Problems
- In some cases, TMD has been associated with ear problems, as an example a ringing in the ears (‘Tinnitus’). Currently it is only an association, not proven to be related to a cause and/or effect.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing TMD, including stress, age, medications, and other health conditions. To determine the best form of treatment for your needs, it is important to conduct a thorough evaluation to diagnose all the underlying contributing factors.
It is our goal to provide you with the individualized care and attention you deserve.
Find Relief at Home
Patients can take several actions at home to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with bruxism, including:
- Apply hot or cold compresses
- Take anti-inflammatory medications
- Eat a soft-food diet
- Avoid intense jaw movements such as chewing gum or singing
- Perform stretching exercises
In addition to home remedies, we may also recommend a custom-crafted splint.
How We Can Help
Drs. Stokke and Bagby can design an occlusal splint to create a small space between your upper and lower jaw. This relieves pressure on the jaw joints, inhibit overactive muscles, and results in less damage to your teeth. In addition to helping you feel more comfortable, we are also concerned with the effects of TMD on your overall oral health. We seek to provide our patients with proactive solutions that can help prevent the need for more serious treatment in the future. Oral appliance therapy can also help reduce grinding and protect your teeth from excessive wear and tear. Our splints are composed of a clear acrylic material, so they provide a discreet and effective solution to TMD.
The Dedication You Deserve
It is our goal at Kenneth J. Bagby, D.D.S., P.C. to provide you with the individualized care and attention you deserve. To find out if oral appliance therapy can benefit you, we invite you to contact us online or call us at (406) 252-1078 and schedule your consultation. We would be happy to provide more detailed information and answer any questions you may have about oral appliance therapy during a private consultation.