The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are small, triangular connective tissues that attach the jaw and skull bone. They perform the function of controlling jaw movement when you eat, drink, speak, and smile. These tiny, sensitive tissues can be easily damaged or strained leading to numerous adverse oral health effects. Dr. Higgins and the Carrier Family Dental team in Grand Prairie, TX are happy to offer a variety of a pain-relieving therapies for patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction (TMD). Call us to schedule your consultation today.
Before we begin treatment, we need to ensure your concerns stem from damage or strain of the TMJ. We’ll screen for common warning signs of TMD during your six month checkups, and we use panoramic x-rays to ensure our complete understanding of the way your oral structures work together. Still, we ask that you please let us know if you experience any combination of the following warning signs of TMD:
Once we’ve made an accurate diagnosis of your condition, our goal is to adjust the way your jaw functions in order to significantly limit the amount of stress placed on the TMJ during typical daily activities. This can include any number of non-invasive therapies like stretching exercises, heat or cold packs, and gentle joint massage. In severe cases, advanced orthodontic or surgical intervention may be necessary. We will complete these treatments in partnership with a trusted specialist.
Another simple, minimally invasive treatment option is an occlusal splint, sometimes called a nightguard. These splints are custom fitted to your bite, and they can and should be worn every night. The occlusal splint shifts your jaw to its ideal resting position and holds it there during sleep. This prevents unconscious and unnecessary jaw movement or excess strain. It also strains your jaw to rest in these more comfortable positions throughout the day for improved jaw mobility and relieved pressure and discomfort.