When patients are experiencing problems with their jaw, they may be diagnosed with a condition known as TMJ or TMD. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and TMD is the disorder associated with its malfunction.
What are the symptoms of TMJ/TMD?
This condition is often characterized by some of the following symptoms:
• Cracking and popping of the jaw joint
• Locking of the joint in the open or closed position
• Pain surrounding the jaw joint
• Pain and stiffness down to the shoulders and up to the ears
• Chronic headaches and migraines
To get a proper diagnosis, it is essential that patients visit a provider that offers neuromuscular dentistry. These professionals are well-versed in the signs of TMJ/TMD and can also provide effective treatment once it has been diagnosed. Diagnosis can occur with an explanation of the symptoms, an x-ray, and a physical examination. Once patients are diagnosed, then they can work with a dental professional to learn about treatment options.
Do I need surgery?
Unless the TMJ/TMD is severe, most patients can avoid requiring surgery to fix the jaw joint. Nowadays, patients can achieve results with oral appliance therapy. Drs. Hiebert and Smith at Hiebert Smith Dental Group are proud to offer oral appliance therapy for TMJ/TMD patients who are interested in a non-invasive treatment option.
Understanding oral appliance therapy
In many situations, it can be essential to realign the jaw alignment to reduce the symptoms of TMJ/TMD. To do this, a unique device similar to a mouth guard can be worn by the patient. It also helps protect the natural teeth from unwanted wear and tear due to poor bite alignment or coexisting conditions such as bruxism. Many patients find relief by regular wear of their oral appliance.
Want to learn more about neuromuscular dentistry?
Drs. Hiebert and Smith of Saint Helens, OR work with patients who have been diagnosed with conditions such as TMJ/TMD to provide solutions that eliminate the need for surgical intervention. Oral appliance therapy is just a phone call away! Book an appointment at Hiebert Smith Dental Group today by contacting us at (503) 397-6144 and visiting the office, conveniently located at 1550 Saint Helens Street.