TMJ treatment is a process of treating the most complex joint in your body. Pearl Denture Care has positioned itself as Calgary’s leading TMJ specialist. More often than not, TMJ treatment is an involved interdisciplinary undertaking, one that can not be accomplished by a single practitioner. Both the diagnosis and successful outcome of the treatment require a multidisciplinary approach as compared to a single practitioner making decisions regarding the condition. TMJ treatment often involves consultation with specialists such as Denturists, Orthodontists, medical Doctors, Chiropractors and various occlusion specialists who are extensively trained in the discipline of Dental Occlusion and its dysfunction. One might reasonably ask, “What is TMJ?”
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a term that is most often publicly misused and misunderstood. As a rule, during a first visit to our practice, a troubled patient nervously declares “ My dentist told me I have a TMJ.” Our usual response is “Great, I have one too. As a matter of fact we all have one. “
TMJ is nothing more than the dental abbreviation for Temporal Mandibular Joint. This is the only joint in the human body capable of all known simultaneous range of motions, thus making it the most complex in design and function. As with all joints, the surfaces of the TMJ are covered with cartilage. As in the case of knee or elbow joints, the two surfaces are separated by a small disc or meniscus. The meniscus prevents bones from rubbing against each other.
The disc makes complete range of motion possible and is responsible for TMJ complexity. The other mechanism of protection is a synovial sack – the sack that encloses the joint and protects it and is filled with synovial fluid. The amount of fluid in the joint has potential for creating problems. When the joint works within functional tolerances, no TMJ treatment is indicated. When the joint starts to exhibit abnormal function, TMJ symptoms appear.
TMJ Disorder Facts
In a few words, TMJ disorder is abnormal function of the joint. A range of problems can affect your eating, speaking and everyday functions. These problems can occur between ages of 20 to 65. Most often than not, TMJ disorder is a compilation of muscle tensions, injury and irreversible anatomical abnormalities. We shouldn’t say irreversible because in the severe cases, surgery may be elected to rectify the condition.
This is why it is of paramount importance to treat TMJ disorders at inception, to arrest TMJ symptoms. As is the case with other joints, with advancing in age, the TMJ may advance to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and various other inflammatory conditions. Tumors in the area can also affect the TMJ function. Additional ways to develop TMJ disorder may include:
• Poorly fitting full or partial dentures
• Bruxism or repeated grinding of the teeth during the day or at night
• Hypermobility (looseness of a jaw) when the ligaments holding the joint together stretch beyond normal tolerances.
• Internal derangement, when the disc in front of the joint relocates from its normal position and lies in front of its normal position.
• Certain physiologically inherited characteristics may produce misalignments
• Sports related injuries
• Automobile accidents
• Congenital or childhood developmental abnormalities
These abnormal TMJ symptoms consist of clicking or popping in one or both joints, excessive headaches and migraines, inability to open wide or close evenly on both sides of your mouth. Other symptoms include ear pain, dizziness, tinnitus or pain in the chewing muscles.
Often, random pain in the area of TMJ joint or surrounding muscles is not indicative of a serious problem and is often attributed to excessive stress. If the discomfort is temporary, no TMJ treatment is warranted. This type of pain often comes and goes in cycles and the TMJ symptoms dissipate, with little or no treatment.
If the TMJ symptoms repeat and are cyclic in nature, they may be indicative of more serious underlying problems. That’s when the condition should be properly diagnosed and a specific form of TMJ treatment initiated. Statistically, TMJ disorder is always preceded by more innocent functions of the joints, the most common of which are clenching or bruxism.
If you spouse says you grind your teeth at night, they are probably right and that’s the one time you should listen. Statistically, bruxism occurs predominantly in males and there is no definitive solution for it other than to wear an intraoral bite appliance, i.e., night guard.
At Pearl Denture and Dental Care, we provide you with precisely fitted nightguards that reverse the condition of tooth clenching while protecting teeth and joints from trauma.
All of the appliances are completed in our in house dental laboratory and include unlimited post delivery bite adjustment appointments .As you wear your night guard appliance, it gradually wears out and will require additional adjustments.
Often the condition cannot be treated only with oral appliances. We are a part of a tightly knit network of dental specialists that includes TMJ specialists in Calgary. Our group of inter-referring professionals utilizes a holistic approach for TMJ treatment.
TMJ Treatment and Dentures
Denturists are denture specialists. Only a denturist is extensively trained to make a diagnosis concerning proper fit and function of your full or partial dentures. Dentures should be fitted into your mouth structures in such a way that they act as a supporting mechanism for the function of the TMJ, protecting it and working in harmony with the TMJ.
Often in our practice at the initial consultation we see dentures that do not fit the TMJ and do not combat it, resulting in progressively worsening TMJ symptoms. As leading Calgary TMJ Specialists in the area of removable or implant prosthodontics, we insure that TMJ disorders are properly diagnosed and treated. Sometimes by simply replacing your dentures or relining the appliances, proper bite can be reestablished and TMJ symptoms alleviated.
When annual recalls and check ups are neglected, prosthetic teeth wear out and collapse the bite height. This results in added strain on the TMJ and results in TMJ disorders. If the bite height cannot be restored with relines, dentures should be immediately replaced.
More often than not, new dentures with implants are indicated for TMJ treatment. Implant stabilized dentures ensure that your bite is secure and exact every time teeth come into the contact. Additionally, implant secured dentures ensure that the TMJ alignment in its physiologic position is maintained, thus properly treating the TMJ disorder. For more information on dental implant procedures, please visit our Dental Implants page. More info on TMJ treatment can be found here. Also our denture Recare page can found here