Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can cause chronic pain that affects 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, serving Kalamazoo and Portage, MI, Dr. Michael Sharp can diagnose temporomandibular joint conditions. Based on your particular symptoms and the cause of your discomfort, we can design a unique treatment plan to meet your needs.
At our practice, we often use oral appliances, such as stabilization splints, to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorders by placing the jaw in its proper position. By adjusting the alignment of your jaw, your device can reduce pressure on your TMJs to ease inflammation and improve your oral function.
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, allow you to open and close your mouth and make side-to-side movements. Through regular use, clenching, grinding, and other stresses, the temporomandibular joints often become strained because of pressure on the joint itself and surrounding tissues. In some cases, the tissue discs that cushion the insides of the TMJs can slip out of place, causing discomfort. The ligaments and muscles surrounding your TMJs can also become swollen, inflamed, and tender. In some cases, the condition will develop because of trauma or an 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 that causes the sufferer to constantly move and clench the jaw, particularly during sleep. Dental misalignment can also lead to temporomandibular disorders (TMD), since your imbalanced bite will place excess pressure on your joints. Other causes of TMD include missing teeth, dental erosion, poor posture, and facial trauma.
An evaluation of your symptoms is one of the most effective ways to diagnose temporomandibular joint disorders. 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)
Technology and techniques used to identify TMD include:
- Digital 3D x-rays
- MRI imaging
- Health and trauma history
For the most accurate diagnosis possible, Dr. Sharp will conduct a complete review of your medical history and examination of your jaws. We will take a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) 3-D x-ray to evaluate hard tissues like bone and teeth, and use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate soft tissues like ligaments and cartilage that would be otherwise impossible to see. This technology can allow us to identify your needs and prescribe the right treatment.
If you are suffering from chronic jaw pain, we can help you achieve the lasting relief you need.
Dr. Sharp can deliver truly effective care tailored to your needs. Most often, we will provide an oral appliance, such as a stabilization splint, to reduce jaw pain and other symptoms. A member of our team will take impressions of your teeth, and Dr. Sharp will use that information to provide an appliance tailored to your exact measurements. Fitting over your teeth, the device will gently place your jaw in the correct position to relieve stress on the jaw joints.
In some cases, we may suggest additional treatment. 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, serving greater Portage, will do all we can to provide relief through non-invasive treatments, but in some cases, patients with more severe TMD may require surgery or other solutions to treat their condition.
Sharp Smile Center
Dr. Michael Sharp believes in using his advanced dentistry skills and top-of-the-line dental technology to help people change their lives for the better—inside and out. Dr. Sharp belongs to a number of prestigious organizations, including:
-American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
-International Congress of Oral Implantologists
-American Dental Association
-American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
We invite you to request a consultation online or call us at (269) 344-4004 today.
We would love to show you what a difference our world-class dentistry can make. Our friendly staff looks forward to hearing from you!
“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