Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain in the jaw area
- Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
- Frequent headaches or neck aches
- Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
- Swelling on the sides of the face
- Muscle spasms in the jaw area, face and neck
- A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
- Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth, range of motion
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let us know. Dr. Saepoff can identify the presence of TMD and create an effective treatment for you.
Treatment may include a clear appliances to wear during the day and/or at night. The appliance is designed to improve the posture of your jaw and allow smooth click-free movement. Your range of motion will usually improve as you wear it, and Dr Saepoff may also include cranial osteopathic treatments during your vists to relieve pain and improve jaw movement.
Treatment usually lasts for 4-6 months, with monthly visits for appliance adjustments and cranial osteopathy.
When the jaw is comfortable, and the popping and clicking is resolved, you will have some choices. One popular option is to use the comfortable alignment appliance as a night guard to maintain a pain free and quiet click-free jaw. However, if pain or clicking recur, then weaning to using the appliance as a night guard is not going to be sufficient for your case.
The second option is to continue to wear a removable appliance during the day as well as at night to maintain the comfortable jaw posture.
If you do not wish to wear an appliance indefinitely, then you might be a candidate for new restorations that are designed to support the corrected bite position. These are a great option for patients that have old metal or other aging restorations that you want to have replaced anyway. They are replaced with your specially designed new bite position.
Finally, many patients choose to have the teeth orthodontically moved into a corrected position that supports the comfortable new pain-free and click-free jaw posture and bite, while avoiding any unnecessary drilling of the teeth. Dr Saepoff uses metal free orthopedic and orthodontic appliances to move your teeth while, at the same time, maintaining the comfortable jaw position throughout the entire process.
With extensive training in holistic methods of TMJ-TMD treatment, cranial osteopathy, jaw orthopedics and orthodontics, and full mouth reconstruction, as well as cosmetic dentistry, Dr Saepoff is ideally suited to provide comprehensive treatment that will solve these problems in the least invasive manner possible.
Here are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or prevent it from occurring:
- Relax your face — remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart, tongue to the roof of the mouth”
- Avoid grinding your teeth
- Avoid constant gum chewing unless it relieves pain
- Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder; either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
- Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
- Do not sit with your chin resting on your hand
- Practice good posture: keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared