Correct an array of dental problems; relieve chronic TMJ disorder symptoms with treatments in Rochester, MI
Ringing in your ears, headaches, jaws locking, facial pain, and other debilitating symptoms aren’t “all in your head,” and you’re at the right place to finally get relief! John L. Aurelia, DDS, PLLC is experienced and adept at detecting these and other side effects related to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Accurate diagnosis is the first step to TMJ disorder treatments in Rochester, MI and the surrounding area.
Dentists, the first to recognize the signs
As experts in conditions that affect the oral cavity, it makes sense that dentists such as Drs. John Aurelia and Dina Khoury might be the first to spot TMJ disorders (TMD). The temporomandibular joint resides on both sides of your face. Joints are designed to work with other, connected bones and tissues to support functional biting, tearing, and grinding of food, as well as clear speech. So, the TMJ plays an important role in getting the proper nutrition and in other basic functions that contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
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Problems or disorders surface as shock-absorbing discs in the joint become misaligned, and as the padding or cartilage that protects the bones and joints erode. When damage arises, it interferes with that system of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and discs operating like a “well-oiled machine”; they can no longer facilitate the smooth movements that allow healthy function. Patients may be prone to TMJ damage and, accordingly, TMJ-related Disorders if they have:
- Untreated problems with how their upper and lower teeth fit together – This may include underbite, overbite, crossbite, or open bite. Problems with how your teeth line up with each other can place excessive stress on the soft and hard tissues in the jaw. This strain produces TMJ symptoms, including pain and stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis that cause the tissues in the jaw to break down over time. In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of all patients diagnosed with RA also have jaw pain.
- Dislocation, and other injuries and trauma to the jaw, which give rise to muscular tension – Any conditions that stress and strain the muscles connected to the TMJ may be responsible for your symptoms. Factors such as chronic stress, in turn, are associated with the onset of TMD or symptoms that become more prominent and disruptive to your day-to-day over time.
Given how much you depend on the TMJ and related structures for functions like chewing, it probably comes as no surprise that many dental problems are linked to TMD. For instance, many patients with bruxism (teeth-grinding and -clenching) may complain about TMJ symptoms – from migraines to radiating facial, neck, and back pain. Tell-tale signs of bruxism that may be detected quickly by Drs Aurelia and Khoury include chipped, worn-down, and cracked teeth. These teeth are more vulnerable to fractures and may require restorative treatment with crowns.
So, for some patients, TMD treatment not only resolves disruptive pain and functional problems that result in limited mobility, but also protects the teeth from damage that could result in further expenses and time in the dentist’s treatment chair. Oral appliance therapy is an alternative to invasive surgery, as well as retail treatments that aren’t as effective because they aren’t customized to your mouth and specific needs. Oral appliances reposition the jaw, to address imbalances that might affect how the TMJ functions. Fitted over your teeth, these devices further protect tooth structure and existing dental-work from damage caused by the excessive forces placed on them (from often subconscious grinding and clenching that occurs while patients are sleeping).
Oral appliance therapy may be combined with other treatments recommended by Drs Aurelia and Khoury, including relaxation techniques, exercises, and massage. These approaches address stress, via mindful breathing that eases muscular tension to relieve discomfort. Physical therapies further stretch and strengthen muscles to combat stressed joints. Other dental treatments that may be of help include orthodontia to correct “bad bites,” such as Invisalign – the way to straighten your teeth without braces. Tooth replacement and restorations also bring balance to the biting surfaces of your teeth, correcting problems that arise due to how your teeth contact each other.