When left untreated, TMJ Disorders can contribute to facial pain, teeth grinding, headaches, earaches, worn or broken teeth and other uncomfortable symptoms. Dr. Jessie Kunnel is a general dentist in Skokie, Illinois experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders.
About TMJ Disorders
The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw and is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. TMJ disorder is a catch all term for a wide variety of potential issues affecting the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves.
Common Causes of TMJ Disorder
There is no single cause for TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:
- Trauma to the head, neck, or face
- Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Malocclusion (misalignment of the jaws and/or teeth)
As with the causes, symptoms of TMJ disorder vary greatly between patients. TMJ symptoms often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions, making diagnosis extremely difficult.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Shoulder, neck, facial pain
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
- Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
- Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
- Chronic earaches
TMJ Treatment Therapy
Dr. Kunnel's goal is to treat TMJ by gently and naturally bringing the head, neck, jaw and bite into proper alignment. He will start with a comprehensive evaluation to look for the signs and symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. Using advanced diagnostic equipment, the dentist will determine the source of instability and create a customized treatment plan to bring the teeth and bite into proper alignment.
TMJ Mouth Guard A TMJ mouth guard is a removable oral appliance that helps to keep the teeth and jaw in proper position. Usually worn during sleep, and oral appliance may also prevent teeth grinding or clenching which can lead to tooth wear and contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. TMJ treatment through splints, mouth guards and night guards can help to alleviate the most common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction and prevent damage to the teeth and gums.
Bite Correction Procedures Occlusal equilibration, better known as bite correction or TMJ correction, is the process of adjusting the alignment of the teeth for optimal fit. The teeth should line up so that they make even contact with one another, creating a low-stress bite.
Over 95% of TMJ dysfunction (TMD) and TMJ pain are caused by an improper occlusion. Bite correction can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMD such as sore jaw, headaches, teeth clenching, and more.