TMJ Treatment in South Hadley, MA
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the small joints that connect the jaw to the skull bone. TMJ dysfunction, sometimes referred to simply as TMD, occurs when excessive strain or overuse leads to pain or limited jaw mobility. At Newton Street Dental, we offer a variety of treatment options, including nightguards, to relieve TMD pain and restore the full range of jaw motion, allowing patients to speak clearly and chew a range of foods thoroughly. Contact our team to schedule an appointment today.
Diagnosis & Treatment
During every six month dental checkup and teeth cleaning, we screen patients for TMD. However, if patients show signs of dental wear, have difficulty opening their mouths, or complain of jaw pain or discomfort, we take extra time to thoroughly examine smiles. In order to aid in early diagnosis, patients should be aware of some of the common symptoms of TMD, including:
- Jaw pain when resting or in motion
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Head, neck, or ear pain, especially first thing in the morning
- Clicking, popping, or grinding noises that occur when opening and closing the mouth
- Dental sensitivity without any other signs of tooth decay or trauma
Occlusal splints are guards worn to relieve pressure on the jaw by allowing teeth to rest together without undue stress or pressure. Patients wear occlusal splints for several hours a day, typically while sleeping in order to provide relief to the strained TMJ, reducing pain. Each splint is precisely crafted to fit an individual smile, allowing patients to speak and drink while wearing their occlusal splint for increased comfort. Additionally, occlusal guards protect teeth from excessive wear or damage.
Occlusal adjustment may be necessary if the temporary relief afforded by wearing a bite guard does not offer adequate relief. Occlusal adjustment can be achieved by removing small amounts of dental structure and using a drill or hard tissue laser in order to allow teeth to fit comfortably together without placing excess stress on the jaw that may lead to TMJ. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may also be necessary to ideally position the bite for optimal comfort. Occlusal adjustment offers long lasting results as the bite is permanently altered to rest more comfortably, while a splint only relieves strain on the TMJ while patients are wearing them.