Our jaw joints help control the movements we need to eat and speak. So, when we endure a significant amount of pressure, this could lead to serious complications, such as TMJ disorder or bruxism (teeth grinding). Fortunately, your Richfield, MN, dentist can treat these oral health issues without relying on surgery, but instead with a comfortable and custom-made oral appliance.
TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
When the joints that connect our jaw and skull undergo excessive pressure, TMJ disorder may develop. Without treatment, this disorder is linked to trouble opening and closing the mouth, as well as headaches, jaw and facial pain, aches in the neck and shoulders, and popping or clicking in the jaw. Bruxism, in which we grind and clench our teeth regularly, could lead to damaged teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay and infection. Symptoms again include headaches, jaw pain, facial discomfort, and tooth sensitivity and toothaches. Untreated TMJ problems could lead to bruxism, and vice versa. Other causes include stress, tooth loss, misalignment, bite imbalance, and injury to the face or jaw.
Creating Your Oral Appliance
If you begin to experience one or more of the issues we discussed above, then see us for a diagnosis. We will look at your jaw joints, oral structures, and examine the teeth for signs of wear and friction. From there, we can decide the best course of action. Often, we treat the problem with a custom-made oral appliance. To begin, we need to take a detailed impression of your bite, as well as measurements and images. We use the information to design and create an appliance that fits like a mouthguard and is worn at night.
Treatment and Prevention
Th oral appliance relieves pressure on the jaw joints by repositioning the jaw, and prevents further damage due to bruxism by placing a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth. We could also treat the smile with orthodontics, which improves alignment and balance, as well as custom-made restorations or muscle exercises. To reduce discomfort, we may suggest a warm washcloth against the side of the face, or avoiding hard or chewy foods, which could exacerbate symptoms. If you have any questions about addressing these concerns, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, then contact our team today. We would love to help you find a solution before the holidays!
Does Your Smile Need an Oral Appliance?
With a custom-made device, we can help correct jaw joint disorders and protect your smile from major complications. To find out more our approach to preventive dentistry, then schedule a consultation with Dr. Keller by calling Cedar West Family Dentistry in Richfield, MN, today at (612) 861-7188.