TMD is a condition that affects the network of nerves, ligaments, muscles, and bones that connect your jaw to your skull. It can be caused by trauma to the face, a misaligned bite, or numerous other factors. Getting proper treatment is important for easing discomfort and preventing weak and worn tooth enamel that is common due to the associated teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Your Fresno dentist, Dr. Byron Reintjes, is pleased to offer high-quality TMD therapy.
A clicking, popping, or painful jaw isn’t normal or just another side effect of getting older. If you experience these symptoms of TMD, seeking a professional opinion is important for receiving the treatment you need right away. Dr. Reintjes will talk to you about your symptoms, examine your bite, and perform additional diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of your discomfort. If it is TMD, that’s actually good news — getting a proper diagnosis is a big step in the right direction.
One of the most common causes of TMD is a misaligned bite. When your upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly, the jaw joints incur stress every time you open and close your mouth. Improving the alignment of the bite through equilibration or occlusal adjustments can help your upper and lower jaw function smoothly, which can greatly reduce your jaw pain. Treatment may include adjusting tooth enamel or even removing teeth to achieve a properly aligned bite.
If equilibration or occlusal adjustments are not the ideal treatment for a misaligned bite, occlusal splints can reposition the jaw joints to ensure they work smoothly when you open and close your mouth. Most occlusal splints are worn at night while you sleep, gradually repositioning the alignment of your jaw over time. The splints can also cushion the tooth enamel to protect it from nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching that often occurs alongside TMD.
Dr. Reintjes may also use the TENS machine to ease the discomfort caused by TMD while also reducing the activity that causes the muscles in the jaw to clench and be tense in the first place. The TENS machine sends tiny electrical pulses directly beneath the skin (don’t worry — it doesn’t hurt at all) to the muscles that cause discomfort due to contraction. It’s like a self-massage for your jaw, providing you with serious relief from TMD-related pain.