Many people suffer from TMJ disorder for quite some time before realizing that this condition is the cause of symptoms such as headaches, earaches, and lock jaw. TMJ disorder, which affects the temporomandibular joint (the connection between the jaw bone and the skull) can be quite painful. Patients who suffer from the symptoms mentioned above, and those who have difficulty stretching the jaw fully open or closed, should consult with cosmetic dentist James Stein. Dr. Stein can perform a thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, and bite to determine if TMJ disorder is present. For those Boston patients who are suffering, Dr. Stein can provide TMJ disorder treatment along with any restorative treatment that may be necessary.
Causes of TMJ
There are several possible causes of TMJ disorder, including arthritis in the jaw or damage to the jaw that is a result of injury. The most likely cause of TMJ disorder is misalignment of the teeth and jaw bone. Some people have teeth that are naturally misaligned while others have a bite that has been thrown off balance by tooth damage. For example, patients who suffer from bruxism, a condition in which a patient grinds and clenches the teeth, are likely to wear down the teeth and cause damage that can misalign the bite. Severe cases of bruxism is another cause of TMJ disorder.
In most cases, TMJ disorder can be treated by providing dental treatment to align a patient’s bite. Dr. Stein will determine the extent of treatment that is required based on the condition of the jaw and teeth. If the teeth or jaw are severely misaligned, a patient will likely require orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatments will gradually shift the teeth so that they become properly aligned and relieve pressure on the temporomandibular joint.
In many cases, the bite has been thrown off by damage to just a few teeth. For these patients, Dr. Stein can provide restorative treatment to the teeth that have been damaged. By repairing just these teeth, Dr. Stein can create an even biting surface that relieves the discomfort of TMJ disorder. The type of restorative treatment provided will again be determined by the extent of damage on the teeth. Some teeth may be restored through the application of inlays or onlays (indirect fillings that cover a large area of the tooth’s biting surface). However, in most cases, dental crowns are needed to restore the tooth’s structure and create an even bite for the patient.
Restorative dental treatments are often all that is required to alleviate the pain and discomfort of TMJ disorder. However, in rare cases, Dr. Stein may recommend that a patient seek surgical treatment. Surgical treatment is the most invasive treatment for TMJ disorder and should only be considered if dental treatments have been unsuccessful in treating the condition.
Schedule an Appointment
There is no need to suffer through the discomfort of TMJ disorder. Schedule an appointment with Dr. James Stein to discuss TMJ treatment. Dr. Stein offers dental treatments to align your bite, repair damaged teeth, and relieve the pain of TMJ disorder.