TMJ disorder can seriously affect your quality of life, causing chronic and often debilitating pain. If you suffer from ongoing headaches, jaw pain, neck or shoulder discomfort, difficulties with chewing, and other symptoms, you may benefit from TMJ disorder treatment at our Charlotte office. At Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney, Dr. John M. Pinnix IV specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. He always begins with the most conservative care, including oral splints and night guards. Most patients experience immense relief with these devices, but for more severe cases, he also offers restorative dental treatments. If you suffer with symptoms of TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pinnix today.
About TMJ Disorder
Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the complex hinges that give your jaw a wide range of motion. Because these joints come under daily strain, they are often subject to damage and inflammation. If you habitually clench or grind your teeth, you are even more likely to suffer from damage to these joints. TMJ disorder arises when tissues and ligaments surrounding the joint become inflamed, or when the joints themselves are damaged. Often, the soft discs inside your joints will slip out of place. In many cases, bite misalignment causes the joints to strain in order to achieve a comfortable balance. Symptoms include:
Jaw pain or tension
Neck or shoulder tension
A popping noise when you open or close your jaw
TMJ Disorder Diagnosis
An accurate diagnosis is one of the most important components of TMJ disorder treatment. Dr. Pinnix will conduct a complete exam to gain a thorough understanding of your oral structure and jaw health. He will use an intraoral camera to take pictures of your jaw and look for structural damage or signs of inflammation. He will also listen to your TMJs with a stethoscope to detect any popping or clicking noises during movement. Additionally, he will measure your jaw, testing its range of motion and using a leaf gauge load test to determine the force and balance of your bite. With a complete understanding of your bite force and alignment, he can create a three-dimensional mounted model of your teeth. This mockup allows him to analyze jaw movement more thoroughly.
Treating TMJ Disorder
Dr. Pinnix uses this in-depth analysis provide you with a personalized treatment plan. Typically, he will begin with occlusal splints and night guards. These tailor-made appliances fit over your teeth and prevent you from clenching and grinding your teeth. In some cases, oral splints can permanently realign your jaw. Typically, you will only wear your splint at night, although if you have a more severe case, Dr. Pinnix may recommend that you wear it during the day, as well.
Although most patients do not require further treatment, if you do not find relief with a mouthguard, we also offer multiple restorative dental treatments, including crowns, bridges, and implants. By replacing missing teeth or repairing broken teeth, Dr. Pinnix can restore balance to your bite, thus alleviating pressure on your jaw joints. If your TMJ disorder is caused by malocclusion (dental misalignment), you may also benefit from Invisalign®, which can straighten your teeth using a series of aligner trays.
Contact Advanced Dentistry of Blakeney today to learn more about TMJ disorder, and to find out which treatments can benefit you.