Occlusal and TMJ Therapy in Elk Grove Village, IL
Wiggle your lower jaw. Can you feel the wide range of motion it allows? The human jaw is designed to perform a variety of movements that allow us to chew and bite different foods and speak a wide range of languages. Rather than a hinge that simply moves up and down, our jaw joints are actually balls and sockets, like our hips, and move up and down, back and forth, and side to side for a very wide range of movements.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ/TMD)
Problems can develop with your jaw joints, which are known medically as your temporomandibular joints. One such condition is called temporomandibular joint dysfunction, which is often abbreviated to TMJ or TMD. Symptoms of TMJ/TMD include:
- A popping or clicking sound in your joint
- Jaw pain that may radiate into your neck or shoulders
- Frequent headaches
- A grating sensation when moving your jaw
- Your jaw getting stuck or locked in either an open or closed position
TMJ/TMD is quite painful for the people who suffer from it. Fortunately, therapy is available to help resolve the problem.
Occlusal (Bite) Problems
You may also develop problems with the shape of your bite and the alignment of your jaws. This can take the form of an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. Genetics often play a role in the alignment of your bite, but some habits developed early in life can affect your bite as well. For instance, people who sucked their thumb for a longer time than usual as children may develop an overbite, crossbite, or open bite.
While most people with a misaligned bite are more worried about the aesthetics and the shape of their face, a misaligned bite can contribute to other health problems, especially if the misalignment is particularly severe. For example, you may develop jaw pain and headaches, or you may find that your teeth wear down faster than normal.
In some cases, occlusal problems can be treated with orthodontics, including Invisalign, which is also offered by our office. However, if your teeth themselves are not crooked and do not need treatment, we do have other options to correct a misaligned bite.
Appliance Therapy for TMJ/TMD and Occlusal Problems
Elk Grove Village dentist Dr. Vishal Advani is skilled in the use of appliance therapy for treating your jaw pain caused by either TMJ/TMD or a misaligned bite. These appliances are custom-made to fit your teeth comfortably and unobtrusively. They are typically worn at night while you are sleeping.
The actual design of the appliance will vary depending on the exact problem being treated. An appliance that is used to treat a misaligned bite will work to gently guide your jaws into the correct position until your body learns to hold that position naturally. An appliance for treating TMJ/TMD will hold your jaws in a slightly open position to relieve pressure on the joint, which will, in turn, reduce the inflammation and discomfort.
If you are suffering from jaw pain, call our office today to schedule an examination with Dr. Advani. He will diagnose the problem behind your symptoms and work with you to create a treatment plan to relieve your pain.