Long Term TMJ Treatment-Should a Bite Splint be your Only Option

long term tmj treatmentMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, is one of the most complex problems for any patient to face. Diagnosing and treating the disorder falls under the classification of a specialization of the dental field, known as neuromuscular dentistry. At Miami Designer Smiles, we employ state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that aids us in the treatment of TMJ.

TMJ occurs when the temporomandibular joint enters a state of dysfunction, most commonly due to a problem with the alignment of your bite or jaw. Once the bite becomes negatively altered, only a neuromuscular dentist can bring it back into alignment. Neuromuscular dentists are becoming more and more in favor of oral appliances as a long-term treatment option for TMJ.

An oral appliance uses the principles of neuromuscular dentistry to position your jaw in a more comfortable and favorable resting position. Wearing this appliance, over time, allows the muscles of your jaw to rest and alleviates the amount of stress on your jaw joints. Many patients feel immediate relief upon the first instances of wearing their oral appliance.

In general, the oral appliance is to be worn at night, but some patients may seek relief by wearing it during the day, also. 

The custom-made oral appliances from Miami Designer Smiles are adjustable to suite your changing needs for TMJ treatment. The current school of thought recommends wearing an oral appliance for a certain amount of time as a diagnostic tool to determine the ideal position of your bite. This diagnostic period could last a few weeks or several months. During this time, a neuromuscular dentist should take objective measurements of your TMJ—particularly jaw position, muscle tension, and any jaw sounds.

The dentist should also determine if you are suffering from any of the symptoms of TMJ such as jaw pain, neck pain or headaches of migraine-like intensity. The frequency and intensity of these symptoms will be considered when treating your specific case of TMJ.

If this diagnostic period reveals no profound issues, then we are likely to suggest a patient continues to use the oral appliance. Periodically, you will visit the dentists at Miami Designer Smiles to have your oral appliance evaluated for its effectiveness.

Any changes in your TMJ symptoms should be discussed with your dentist as soon as possible to maximize treatment benefits.

An oral appliance might not be the right TMJ treatment for everyone, but one thing is certain; if you suffer from TMJ, this disorder and the problems it causes will not just go away on its own. In fact, my sufferers find that their untreated TMJ eventually manifest into more severe, long-term pain or discomfort. Proper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder are necessary to provide you with relief.

Miami Designer Smiles has the experience and training in neuromuscular dentistry to provide care for TMJ patients. This is a higher level of care than you will receive for TMJ from a general dentist. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ by another medical professional, call our office at (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation today.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.