Dr. Brent Blaylock offers complete restorative dental services, including diagnosis and treatment for complex adult dental problems, including temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Commonly called TMJ, a temporomandibular disorder is often the result of an imbalance in the bite which can lead to not only painful symptoms, but damage to the jaw joint(s), teeth and/or gums.
Dr. Blaylock, a trusted dentist in Durham NC, has extensive post graduate training in the treatment of bite disorders such as TMJ and applies the Dawson Academy principles of complete dentistry when recommending treatment. Complete dentistry focuses on a thorough examination of all parts of the occlusal system, looking for signs of instability that can be the underlying cause of dental health concerns. Identifying dental problems with a holistic approach improves both results and the patient experience.
The successful treatment of TMJ is important for long term dental health and a functional bite.
One of the most commonly misdiagnosed dental problems, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) affect millions of adults who often have unexplained toothaches, facial pain and headaches. Commonly referred to by patients as “TMJ”, TMD is a complex group of disorders that is often misunderstood by the medical and dental communities.
TMJ can have a variety of causes, most of which are related to an imbalance in the bite which puts undue pressure on the jaw joints. This often results in pain, headaches, and clicking or popping of the jaw point. TMJ can also lead to teeth grinding and/or clenching which can cause damage to the teeth and gums over time.
A functional bite means that all parts of the occlusal system (teeth, gums and jaw joints) are working together harmoniously. Dr. Blaylock will evaluate all parts of the occlusal system during a thorough dental exam and recommend appropriate treatment to address dental problems affecting the bite.
Signs & Symptoms of TMJ
In almost all cases, a TMJ disorder will cause tooth wear and may contribute to tooth decay and/or (gum) disease.
Common TMJ Symptoms include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching, often characterized by tooth wear
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Limited mobility in the jaw
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
During a consultation or routine dental care, Dr. Blaylock will look for signs of TMJ such as worn or damaged teeth. If you are experiencing frequent headaches or any of the above symptoms, mention them to Dr. Blaylock during your visit to his Durham dentist office. Prompt treatment can prevent possible tooth damage.
About TMJ Therapy
Mouthguard and Splint Therapy
As a conservative option, your dentist in Durham, NC will often recommend the use of a bite guard to alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms, or a dental splint. A bite guard or splint is often a first step, used early in treatment and not needed as a long term solution. A dental split can be helpful to help identify a comfortable and stable bite position.
Bite Correction Therapy
This process is a series of adjustments made to the teeth which may include:
- Removing tooth structure
- Applying dental crowns or porcelain veneers
- Orthodontic treatment
- Implant dentistry
If the teeth are not in proper position, orthodontics may be needed to reposition the teeth, allowing them to fit together harmoniously. Dr. Blaylock will coordinate your treatment with traditional or invisible braces through a local specialist.
In cases where teeth have been significantly worn and damaged restorative dentistry may be needed to bring the teeth back to their proper health and beauty. Dr. Blaylock may use dental crowns, porcelain veneers, or cosmetic bonding to restore teeth.
TMJ Treatment FAQs
Is TMJ treatment painful?
No. TMJ treatments are not painful. Some TMJ treatment options may not require surgery or invasive procedures. Even with oral surgery, you will not feel pain because anesthesia will be used.
How long does TMJ treatment last?
There are many TMJ treatment options. Some may be more of a process than others depending on the severity of your TMJ issues. For example, night guards will need to be worn indefinitely; whereas bite alignment procedures take a visit or two, with results lasting a lifetime. Your results may vary.
Is TMJ treatment expensive?
TMJ treatment is an umbrella term for a list of procedures that can be used to fix jaw issues. Most TMJ treatments are not that expensive and are common treatments, such as crowns or porcelain veneers. The more expensive treatments are reserved for severe TMJ issues. This can include orthodontics and oral surgery.