When your bite is properly aligned, the teeth should mesh together like gears. If the teeth don’t fit together correctly, problems can arise with symptoms including headaches, popping and cracking of the jaws, jaw pain, and muscle pain in the head, neck and face. Some people clench and grind their teeth in an effort to find a comfortable bite.
Rochester Hills, MI dentist Dr. Matthew Wolfe offers services for TMJ related problems. The bite should always be evaluated prior to any restorations being placed so an incorrect bite is not perpetuated.
Dr. Wolfe, a graduate of the Dawson Academy, practices complete dentistry: a thorough exam of the entire occlusal system is performed during preventive care visits to determine if there is an imbalance in the bite which may contribute to a dental health issue.
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ disorder is a catch all term for a wide variety of potential issues affecting the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder
There is no single cause for disfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:
Trauma to the head, neck, or face
Trauma to the joint or arthritis
Hormonal changes or imbalances
Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly between patients. Symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
Shoulder, neck, facial pain
Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
Dr. Wolfe's goal is to treat TMJ by gently and naturally bringing the head, neck, jaw and bite into proper alignment. He will start with a comprehensive evaluation to look for the signs and symptoms of disfunction. Using advanced diagnostic equipment, the dentist will determine the source of instability and create a customized treatment plan to bring the teeth and bite into proper alignment.
TMJ Mouth Guard:
A TMJ mouth guard is a removable oral appliance that helps to keep the teeth and jaw in proper position. Usually worn during sleep, and oral appliance may also prevent teeth grinding or clenching which can lead to tooth wear and contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. TMJ treatment through splints, mouth guards and night guards can help to alleviate the most common symptoms and prevent damage to the teeth and gums.
Bite Correction Procedures:
Occlusal equilibration, better known as bite correction or TMJ correction, is the process of adjusting the alignment of the teeth for optimal fit. The teeth should line up so that they make even contact with one another, creating a low-stress bite.
Over 95% of TMJ disfunction (TMD) and pain are caused by an improper occlusion. Bite correction can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMD such as sore jaw, headaches, teeth clenching, and more.