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The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) connect the jawbone to the skull and allow us to perform the multidirectional movements involved in chewing and speaking. When the TMJs are subjected to added pressure from teeth grinding or an unbalanced bite, it can lead to painful symptoms. This condition, generally known as TMJ disorder, can impact several areas of your life, affecting your comfort and health. We often see patients who seek treatment for pain in their jaw, headaches, or stiffness in their necks. Dr. Brian J. Polidori of Colorado Premier Dental provides bite analysis and TMJ therapy for patients in the Lakewood, CO, area. If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, please contact our office to make an appointment with Dr. Polidori.
The TMJs work in harmony to move your jaw up and down, as well as side to side. When your bite is properly balanced, these joints will operate smoothly. However, if you have an unbalanced bite because the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, the TMJs must compensate, which puts additional pressure on the joints and surrounding musculature. This added strain can result in inflammation and TMJ disc misalignment, which causes pain and discomfort within the jaw. A misaligned bite is commonly caused by:
If you have noticed any pain, stiffness, or a clicking or popping sound when moving your jaw, it may be a sign of TMJ disorder. The only way to be properly diagnosed with the condition is to see a dentist like Dr. Polidori who has completed specialized training for TMJ disorder. In addition to discomfort in the jaw, TMJ disorder can also cause frequent headaches, back pain, neck problems, and tenderness in the area. If you have noticed any combination of these symptoms, you need to contact a specialist immediately to begin treatment.
Dr. Polidori often recommends the use of a custom-designed oral splint that is worn while the patient sleeps. These devices realign the jaw and prevent grinding or clenching. Oral splints are a popular treatment method because they are effective, non-invasive, and can significantly decrease any pressure on the jaw.
If Dr. Polidori determines that the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder is caused by missing teeth or a misaligned bite, he may recommend a restorative dentistry treatment to correct the issue. Dental implants can replace missing teeth, and orthodontic treatment can correct misalignment. Patients who have good oral health are much less likely to experience TMJ pain or discomfort. As a last resort, there are several oral surgery procedures that can alleviate problems associated with TMJ disorder.
Healthy, well functioning TMJs can greatly improve your quality of life. If you are concerned with pain or discomfort in your jaw, or other symptoms that indicate TMJ disorder, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Polidori.