When you open and close your mouth, what do you feel? Does this cause pain to flare up in your jaw and around your ears? Does your jaw click and pop all the time or even become stuck opening or closing? All of these signs point to a TMJ disorder, a very common problem faced by many people in Louisville. The TMJ (jaw joint) is an often overlook part of oral health, but at Remmers Dental, we’re able to provide the answers patients need as well as provide treatment to help them achieve complete relief.
Problems with the TMJ can stem from a variety of causes, but the primary ones tend to be stress, strain in the joint, an injury, arthritis, or a misaligned bite. If a patient reports feeling symptoms that could indicate a TMJ issue (stiff, painful jaw, persistent headaches, neck pain), we’ll perform a number of screenings and tests to get to the root of the issue. With this information, we can then recommend the appropriate treatment, which may include:
When the bite is misaligned to the point that the muscles in the jaw can’t fully relax, this can quickly lead to tension that turns into pain that radiates throughout the jaw and head. To correct this, we’ll simply reshape a few key teeth in order to help the bite come together properly. We usually only need to remove a few millimeters of enamel to accomplish this, meaning this treatment doesn’t alter the appearance of the smile. It does, however, often lead to complete pain relief.
An occlusal splint is a small, custom-made mouthpiece that a patient would wear to bed each night, and it would help with a TMJ problem by slightly altering the jaw’s position, putting it and the surround muscles into a more natural and relaxed orientation. This will allow the area to heal and for the jaw to “learn” this new position. After a few weeks of consistent use, a patient should be able to go throughout their day without any lingering symptoms.
For TMJ patients look for a quick solution to acute pain, the answer may come in an unexpected form: Botox. In addition to helping people get rid of facial wrinkles, Botox has also been used successfully as a pain reliever for many years, able to stop painful spasming muscles while also releasing tension. The treatment itself only takes about 10 minutes, but the results can easily last for months at a time, during which we can find a more permanent solution.