The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that nearly 10 million Americans suffer from some form of Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD. Most people refer to this disorder as TMJ (temporomandibular joints). Although millions may suffer from this painful condition, few people take steps to alleviate it. Dr. Staton wants you to know that we can help alleviate the suffering caused by TMD.
Your TM joints connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints get a lot of use 24 hours a day (even at night during sleep). Pain in and around these joints can be very unpleasant and can limit your ability to chew, speak, yawn, and swallow. The exact causes vary from patient to patient but are generally created by stress being placed on the joints. This could be from grinding of your teeth (bruxism), clenching, trauma, misalignment of the jaw, or damage to the cartilage in the joint (arthritis).
- Pain in the jaw area
- Headaches, earaches, or neck pain
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing
- A change in your bite (the way your teeth come together)
- Locked jaw or limited opening
- Difficulty chewing
To properly treat TMD, a thorough examination of the joints, muscles, and your bite are needed to give Dr. Staton a complete understanding of your condition. Dr. Staton utilizes the T-Scan System by Tekscan, one of the most accurate ways of gathering information on your bite (occlusion). This computerized bite analysis simply requires the patient to bite on a thin flexible sensor to record your bite pressure and timing. This provides Dr. Staton with invaluable information when it comes to treating TMD and when performing other dental procedures, such as full mouth reconstructions and equilibrations.
Some simple treatments can be done by the patient at home. A few examples are:
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Eat softer foods
- Remember the rule – lips together, teeth apart
- Practice good posture
Dr. Staton offers more advanced treatment options for those who suffer from TMD.
We may fit the patient with a customized flat plane anterior guidance splint to be worn at night. The splint can relax the muscles of the jaw and relieve stress on the joint. Sometimes medications must be used as well for certain acute situations.