Did you know that TMD disorder, or TMJ, affects over ten million people in the United States alone? Jaw strain that results in TMJ disorder can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Without treatment, TMJ disorder may make eating and even yawning difficult. Fortunately, Dr. James Fondriest, offers the experience and knowledge necessary to diagnose and treat TMD disorder.
What is TMD Disorder?
The temporomandibular joints connect the jaw to the skull. These joints also control all jaw movement, including the actions necessary to eat or speak. When the joints undergo excessive strain, patients may develop TMJ disorder. As we will see, a variety of factors can place inordinate strain on the temporomandibular joints. Patients with TMJ disorder report a number of similar symptoms, such as:
- Popping or clicking sensation in the jaw
- Jaw and facial pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Earaches and tinnitus
- Difficulty chewing or biting down
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Dizziness and difficulty opening the mouth
If you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, contact your Lake Forest dentist right away.
What Causes TMD Disorder?
Common causes of jaw joint strain include:
- Bruxism – When a patient grinds or clenches their teeth, they suffer from bruxism. Everything from stress to malocclusion can cause a person to grind their teeth. Over time, bruxism strains the jaw joints and damages the teeth, wearing away enamel and causing chips and cracks. Toothaches and tooth sensitivity are common symptoms of bruxism.
- Trauma – An injury to the face or jaw can cause misalignment or an uneven bite. As a result, one of the joints can become strained, increasing the risk of TMJ disorder.
- Malocclusion – Also known as bite misalignment. Often occurring naturally or the result of injury, malocclusion can cause enamel wear and lead to the onset of TMJ disorder.
Diagnosing TMD Discomfort
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, contact Dr. Fondriest. During your consultation, your Lake Forest dentist will examine your bite for indicators of TMJ disorder. After diagnosing the cause and extent of your disorder, Dr. Fondriest will provide comfortable and minimally invasive treatment options. Dr. Fondriest is uniquely qualified to assess the severity of your TMJ disorder. At the renowned L.D. Pankey Institute, Dr. Fondriest received years of training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ issues. The L.D. Pankey Institute has made breakthroughs in the research and treatment of jaw joint disorders. Currently, Dr. Fondriest is a senior fellow at the L.D. Pankey Institute. Without our innovative techniques, you can eat and speak with comfort and ease.
Treating Your TMD
In some cases, simple steps can be taken to ease the discomfort of TMJ disorder. Dr. Fondriest may recommend simple muscle exercises to reduce tension. The use of compresses can also ease joint muscle strain. Patients with TMJ disorder should cut back on hard or chewy foods, as the repetitive chewing motions can actually exacerbate symptoms.
For other cases, Dr. Fondriest may prescribe a specially designed night guard. Customized for your bite, this device repositions the jaw to ease misalignment and strain. The oral appliance also aids in the treatment of bruxism by preventing the upper and lower teeth from touching. Worn at night, this device provides a simple solution for TMJ-related pain and bruxism.
Some patients may endure malocclusion due to damaged or missing teeth. With our line of cosmetic and restorative treatments, Dr. Fondriest can return your smile to full function and health. Dental implants and dental bridges provide natural looking and durable replacement teeth. Porcelain veneers and dental crowns offer esthetically pleasing and strong repair for damaged or worn down teeth. If you grind your teeth, Lake Forest Dental Arts offers the care necessary to restore your teeth and prevent the decay or infection related to cracked or chipped teeth. For more information on our approach to treating TMJ disorders and related dental damage, talk to Dr. Fondriest today.