Does your jaw frequently hurt? Do you grind your teeth? Give your jaw a break and contact Uptown Dental Associates to learn about our teeth grinding solutions and TMJ treatment in Albuquerque, NM !
At our Albuquerque, NM dentist office, our compassionate team will assess your situation and come up with customized TMJ treatment to relax your jaw joint so it can heal.
Dr. Ryan Shepherd even completed extensive research on TMJ issues and how best to treat them while attending the prestigious Harvard School of Dental Medicine!
TMJ Disorder And Teeth Grinding Explained
Dr. Shepherd on Treating TMJ Disorder Read Transcript
A lot of our patients clench or grind their teeth. It is an extremely widespread problem, especially here in the United States where you have so many Type A personalities and where we have patients who really live stressful lives. So grinding or clenching your teeth is a way that we tend to cope with our stress, and we're not even aware of it.
Those forces on our teeth on a continual basis cause a fair amount of damage to the teeth and, even worse than that, can cause a fair amount of damage to the joint. The jaw joint functions differently than any other joint in the body, and it's not like you can run in and get a jaw replacement like you can get your hip replaced when you're 60 years old.
So this is something that is incredibly important for us in our practice, to make sure that patients are getting the attention that they need if they have temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMD is what this is technically called, the discomfort that people get in their joints, in the jaw joint. Whether that is just soreness that they get in the joint or whether it's a clicking that they're getting in the joint or whether they're getting locked open or locked shut, all of those symptoms are part of a much bigger problem.
When I was at Harvard, one of the areas of my research was specifically on treating TMD, and there are a lot of ways to approach it. So we take a very non-invasive approach to start and gradually with time we increase as needed. We usually will start with our patients using some type of appliance that they wear at night, a mouthguard, something that if they are clenching will keep the forces off of the teeth, something that if they're grinding will keep them from destroying the joint. In addition to that, there are some physical therapy techniques that I teach my patients to deal with it.
Then, if those aren't quite sufficient, then I also offer Botox in the office. For some people, that is really they're only relief, but it's a fantastic relief. If you inject a bit of Botox into specific spots in the jaw, it will cause those muscles to release. It doesn't make you look like you've had a facelift or anything, and it doesn't paralyze your jaw so that you can't chew. You've still got complete function, but you don't have quite as much strain, and that will help to protect the teeth, as well as to protect the jaw long term.
You will need to see a trained professional like Dr. Shepherd for a proper diagnosis, but if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder (TMD):
- A jaw that gets “stuck” open or closed
- Clicking or popping sounds in your jaw when you open your mouth wide
- Swelling, tenderness, and sensitivity in your jaw
Migraines and headaches, as well as teeth grinding, can also be symptoms of TMD. We will carefully examine your case of jaw pain to determine the cause and best solution.
Your TMJ Disorder And Teeth Grinding Treatment Options
When you arrive at our Albuquerque, NM dental office for a TMJ disorder or teeth grinding treatment, Dr. Shepherd will discuss your situation with you to better diagnose the cause of your discomfort. We offer three main treatment methods to relax and heal your jaw joints.
- We can make custom mouthguards that prevent you from grinding your teeth and allow your jaw to rest. Because your mouthguard will be custom made, it will be comfortable and fit you perfectly.
- We can also use Botox to relieve tension in your jaw. Many of our patients experience relief from headaches, jaw pain, and other symptoms in as little as one day following treatment!
- Massage therapy can also do wonders in treating TMD and teeth grinding. As a former massage therapist, Dr. Shepherd will find your trigger points, relieve your discomfort, and show you how to treat your tension yourself!
It’s important that you seek out for TMD/ TMJ treatment and teeth grinding because these issues can actually lead to other problems. Teeth grinding, for example, weakens the enamel on your teeth and can leave your smile more susceptible to damage.