Customized TMJ Treatment to Alleviate Chronic Jaw Pain

3-D representation of the head with the lower jaw highlightedTemporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can cause chronic pain that may affect virtually every aspect of your life. You may find it difficult to eat certain foods, and the discomfort can spread to other parts of your body. At Sharp Smile Center, Dr. Michael Sharp and Dr. Karen Mitchell can diagnose the condition after a thorough exam. Based on your particular symptoms and the cause of your discomfort, we can plan a unique TMJ treatment plan. At our practice near Portage, MI, we most frequently use oral appliances to alleviate the sometimes intolerable symptoms. By adjusting the alignment of your jaw, your device can reduce pressure on your joints to ease inflammation and improve your oral function.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Your TMJs, or jaw joints enable you to open and close your mouth as well as allow for side-to-side movements. Through regular use, clenching, grinding, and other stresses, the TMJs often become strained because of pressure on the joint itself and surrounding tissues. As a result, the discs that cushion the insides of the joints can slip out of place, causing discomfort. The ligaments and muscles surrounding your joints can also become swollen, inflamed, and tender. 

In some cases, the condition will develop because of some underlying oral health issue. Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes. This condition, also known as bruxism, is often the result of stress. To get rid of excess energy and stress hormones, you may constantly move and clench your jaw, particularly while you are asleep. Dental misalignment can also lead to TMJ disorders (TMD), since your imbalanced bite will put greater pressure on your joints. Other causes for TMD include missing teeth, dental erosion, poor posture, and facial trauma.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

An evaluation of your symptoms is one of the most effective ways to diagnose TMD. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain, often radiating across the lower half of your face
  • Stiffness in your neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Chronic headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears
  • Popping or clicking sounds that accompany jaw movement
  • Jaw stiffness (in severe cases, resulting in the inability to open or close your mouth all the way)

For the most accurate diagnosis possible, our team will examine your jaw to check for swelling. We will also take x-rays and measurements of the joints. With detailed digital imaging, we can help to determine the health of your underlying oral structure and how it is affecting your jaw joints.

If you are suffering from chronic jaw pain, we can give you the lasting relief you desire.

TMJ Disorder Treatment at Sharp Smile Center

With their extensive experience, our doctors can deliver truly effective care, tailored to your needs. Most often, we will provide an oral appliance to reduce jaw pain and other symptoms. A member of our team will take impressions of your teeth, and Dr. Sharp or Dr. Mitchell will design an appliance tailored to your exact measurements. Fitting over your teeth, the device will gently realign your jaws.

This shift can relax your jaw muscles and reduce pressure on your TMJs. In some cases, we may suggest additional treatment, typically along with an oral appliance. For example, dental crowns can repair worn teeth, restore the natural force of your bite, and eliminate undue pressure on your joints. Sharp Smile Center will do all we can to provide non-invasive treatments, but in some cases patients with more severe TMD may require surgery or other solutions to treat their condition.

Receive Outstanding Care

If you are suffering from chronic jaw pain, we can give you the lasting relief you desire. Contact Sharp Smile Center online or call us today at (269) 344-4004 today to book your diagnostic consultation.

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Eight implants and many crowns later, I have a smile to be proud of. With the aid of sedation, we got a lot done in a short time. THANK YOU Dr. Sharp and staff for getting me through my dental problems. Gene

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