TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Poss can help you have a healthier, more comfortable jaw. Dr Poss uses the latest computer technology to precisely determine what is the best treatment for you.
Trouble With Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
- Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
- Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
- Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
- Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
- Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
There are various treatment options that Dr. Poss can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Poss will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint. A splint (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night. It also helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw, and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day, or just at night, to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help protect tooth wear.
What About Bite Correction or Surgery?
If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options, such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring, are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Dr. Poss does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and non-reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.
Poss Dental Designs
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The staff are very warm and welcoming each and every time I come in. I am very pleased with my treatment received every time. I would definitely recommend Dr. Poss
- Ashley W
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Great experience. Professional yet friendly.
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Patient Review from Susan V
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Always a great experience and service is very professional and thorough. Staff attentive to any issues.
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Best of the best!
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I love this office and the staff!
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Great service and very friendly
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Great people and great service. That's why I keep coming back!
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You all were great!
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What a great experience! This visit was more like a time with friends than just dental treatment. I'm glad I'm a now a patient here.
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Patient Review from Mark H
As always, the staff at Dr. Poss' office is wonderful and professional!
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Patient Review from Libby F
My experience with Dr. Poss and his team was truly exceptional. They always took time to listen to me and addressed my questions and concerns graciously. Drawing near the end of my treatment my teeth look beautiful and my jaw pain and headaches are much improved. I am so thankful for all the work this team put in to seeing my goals met. I recommend them to anyone struggling with TMJ. They are great at what they do and a pleasure to be around.
- Libby F
Patient Review from Charles B
I would highly recommend this dental office because of the professional and caring staff.
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Patient Review from Teal H
I had a dental appointment today to get a temporary crown on. Dr. Poss at Poss Dental Designs has been my dentist for almost a year and a half. I've had several crowns done by another dentist over the years whom I'd been with since I was 18 and really liked. I started going to Dr. Poss because he's the one I chose to get my 6 Month Smile braces done by--my former dentist didn't offer that service. So . . . what's with the post about it? Well, at 7:30 tonight I received a message from him, personally, on my cell making sure I was doing okay and to let me know if I needed anything to just call. THAT, my friends, is how you do business. If you live in locally, you won't go wrong with choosing him as your dentist. I highly recommend him. Oh! And his staff is also fantastic. 🙂
- Teal H
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Patient Review from Gavin W
I am impressed with how friendly and professional the staff is. They seem interested in my dental needs as well as my life.
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Patient Review from Cody F
Moving to a new city can be stressful, but I think finding a new dentist is my least favorite part of the process. Thankfully, Dr. Poss and his staff made the entire experience joyful and very convenient. For the first time, I'm actually looking forward to coming back to the dentist!
- Cody F