TMJ Treatment in Andover, MA
TMJ Treatment at Dentistry by Designs
Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the lower jaw to the temporal bone on the sides of the skull. The left and right joints both allow the jaw to move up and down as well as side to side during chewing, yawning, and speaking.
Each temporomandibular joint has a rounded ball like end of the lower jaw (condyle) which can move within a space of the skull (temporal) bone call a fossa. Separating these two bones during function is a pad of fibrous cartilage called an articular disc. Each articular disc acts as a cushion and is attached to the condyle of the lower jaw, moving withi it to prevent the bones from rubbing together during function.
For more immediate information on TMJ Treatment in Andover, MA please contact Dentistry by Design at (978) 475-5333 today!
TMJ Disorder Symptoms and Causes
When a patient's jaw joints or jaw muscles are irritated, there can be deviation of the lower jaw to one side on opening. This is called mandibular opening deviation. For various reasons, the human face does not always grow symmetrically. Facial asymmetry can cause TMJ problems. Continual jaw muscle spasm can cause muscle shortening with limited opening and severe jaw pain.
Since the teeth, jaw joints and muscles can all be involved, treatment for this condition varies. Typically, treatment will involve several phases. The first goal is to relieve the muscle spasm and pain as well as establish normal range of motion of the lower jaw. Then, your dentist must correct the way the teeth fit together. Often a temporary device known as an orthotic or splint is worn over the teeth until the bite is stabilized. Permanent correction may involve selective reshaping of the teeth, building crowns on the teeth, orthodontics or a permanent appliance to cover the teeth. If the jaw joint itself is damaged, it must be specifically treated. Although infrequent, surgery is sometimes required to correct a damaged joint. Ultimately, your dentist will stabilize your bite so that the teeth, muscles and joints all work together without strain.
Once a thorough diagnosis has been made, the dentist will begin a personalized treatment program. Patients benefit from the non-surgical, conservative treatment that can be provided at our dental office in Andover, MA. Individualized therapy will include muscle spasm reduction treatments in conjunction with an easy to wear, comfortable dental orthotic, referred to as a splint. The orthotic covers the lower teeth holding the jaw in proper alignment, reducing tension in the muscles of the jaw joint, allowing healing to take place. Once pain is controlled and the jaw joint is stabilized, the bite is balanced so the teeth, muscles and joints all work together in harmony.
It is important to assess the posture of each patient to determine whether or not the shoulders, pelvis and hips are level. Photos are taken of each patient to check for the above as well as to check for forward head posture. If there is a problem with the shoulders, hips or pelvis or if one leg is longer than the other, then a referral to a chiropractor would be necessary.
To solve the problem of forward head posture which can cause cervical (neck) problems, referral to a dentist or orthodontist who uses functional jaw orthopedic appliances should be made. These appliances such as the Twin Block, MARA or Herbst Appliance successfully reposition the lower jaw forward and eliminate the forward head posture.
For more information on TMJ Treatment in Andover, MA please contact Dentistry by Design at (978) 475-5333 today!