Do you suffer from frequent headaches, facial pain or jaw pain? These are all signs of a complex condition called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). Dr. William Harper is one of the few dentists in the Hampton Roads area with the training and experience to treat this chronic disorder. A significant portion of his post-graduate training has been focused on diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders.
TMJ Cause & Effect
TMJ can negatively affect your quality of life, causing severe headaches and chronic pain in the face and neck. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, the small joint located in front of your ears that controls the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ is also used as a general term to describe Temporomandibular Disorder, a condition in which the jaw joints or teeth do not fit together properly.
When the teeth aren’t properly aligned and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) don’t operate smoothly, it can create tension, pressure, and ultimately pain in the face, head, shoulders, and neck. In almost all cases, a TMJ disorder will cause tooth wear and may contribute to tooth decay (cavities) and/or periodontal (gum) disease.
Effects of TMJ
- Frequent headaches, often occurring in the morning
- Pain in the shoulders, neck, or face
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Limited range of motion in the jaw joints, or locked jaw
- Teeth grinding or clenching, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches without infection
- TMJ Therapy And Bite Correction
When you visit Harper Dental Care in Hampton Roads, you will receive a comprehensive examination that includes an occlusal analysis to study the way your teeth make contact. Using study models of your mouth, Dr. Harper can target the source of dysfunction and create a personalized treatment plan to bring your occlusion back into harmony.
To enable Dr. Harper to offer more accurate treatment and diagnosis of bite disorders like TMJ, he incorporates the latest dental technologies all available at his Hampton Roads dentist office. By using the latest in TMJ diagnostics, Dr. Harper can pinpoint the exact cause of your TMJ, making treatment more focused and successful.
Known as bite correction therapy, this treatment option will bring the teeth into proper contact, allowing the jaw to open and close in its proper position and eliminating stress on the joints and resulting pain. The dentist will make a series of adjustments which may include:
- Reshaping teeth – removing tooth structure, using dental crowns or porcelain veneers
- Repositioning teeth often through orthodontic treatment
- Replacing teeth using dental implants, bridgework or dentures
Mouth Guards For TMJ
A custom mouth guard or dental splint may be used to alleviate specific symptoms, such as teeth grinding. Oftentimes, the mouth guard or splint is used early in treatment and is not needed as a long-term solution. A dental split can be helpful to help identify a comfortable and stable bite position.