Temporomandibular Joint problems or disorders (often called TMJ or TMD) have plagued mankind since the beginning of modern dentistry. The intense pain and tension involved with TMJ disorders are debilitating and frustrating. Often the patients are treated for years by the medical profession with the use of drugs to dull or numb the senses.
Many reasons exist for the TMJ to begin a life-altering downhill spiral:
- Accidental injury involving the head and neck
- Orthodontic treatment involving tooth removal (common)
- Poorly balanced dental restoratives including crowns and fillings
Most patients that suffer from long-standing TMJ disorders have serious balance discrepancies in their bite or chewing relationships. Most have had a history of orthodontics. There is no home for their bite to settle in place. This can result in sore jaw muscles or fatigue as well as frequent headaches and neck aches.
Once the TMJ problems related to bite imbalance are identified, several treatment modalities can be implemented including:
- Equilibration: This tedious but effective adjustment addresses interferences in normal function of the upper and lower teeth. It can be slight or involve multiple areas of numerous teeth. These interferences can lead to nighttime grinding and the body’s natural attempt to rid itself of unwelcome contacts. Often orthodontic movement will set a tooth against another tooth that physiologically were never meant to interact.
- Bite guard therapy: This is self explanatory and it has its uses, however, the new bite guard should be adjusted so that it does not introduce equally damaging interferences and delivers harmony to the jaw relationship.