The hinges that connect your jaw to your head are called the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. They’re very complex structures that allow you to move your jaw in any number of directions. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can interfere with the working of your TMJ joints. If you’re experiencing unexplained jaw problems, tooth pain, mystery headaches, ringing in the ears, or any number of other unexplained symptoms, it could be Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Dr. Rick Barfield at 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX offers effective treatment for TMD.
When Good Joints Go Bad
TMD is generally caused by damage to the joint, deterioration in the joint cushioning, or misalignment. The parts of the joint have to able to slide past each other in both the vertical and horizontal directions. Anything that interferes with that motion can cause symptoms that may seem totally unrelated to what’s happening in your temporomandibular joints.
Your TMJs can be damaged due to impact in accidents or from a blow. Arthritis is a common finding with Temporomandibular Disorder. Chronic teeth grinding can stress the joints and cause muscle imbalances. (It’s also really bad for your tooth enamel.)
Heredity sometimes plays a role in TMD. Problems with your bite – how your teeth come together – can lead to problems. Sometimes, the underlying cause can’t be identified.
Regardless of the cause, effective TMD treatment from Dr. Rick Barfield at 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX can provide relief from those mysterious problems.
Oral Appliances Provide Effective TMD Treatment
The goals of TMD treatment are to provide relief of symptoms, restore function, and help prevent further damage. An oral appliance such as a custom night guard or an occlusal splint accomplishes all three goals.
An occlusal splint, also known as a night guard, is an acrylic mouthpiece that this custom-made for your needs. The appliance helps reposition the jaw while you sleep which allows the muscles to relax. The night guard also prevents tooth grinding while you sleep, saving your dental enamel from further damage.
You can also wear your night guard during the day if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth
There are over-the-counter mouthpieces or night guards available. However, it’s important to remember that those appliances aren’t customized for your mouth. While you may find some relief – or you may not – those drugstore night guards aren’t nearly as effective as one that is customized perfectly for you.
Caring for Your Night Guard
The customized night guards that Dr. Barfield provides are made from a high-quality acrylic that will last for many years. When you’re not using it, place your night guard in water to keep it pliable. Take care to clean your night guard often and thoroughly as food particles can get trapped in the appliance.
You Don’t Have to Suffer From TMJ Problems
Get relief for the many and mysterious symptoms that accompany Temporomandibular Disorder. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Rick Barfield at 1st in Smiles in Plano, TX. Call our office today at 972-380-8105 to schedule.