Do you experience jaw pain or discomfort? Does it feel like your teeth are not making proper contact?
A bite that feels uneven or uncomfortable can be a sign of an underlying dental health problem or a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Northern VA dentist Dr. Matt Gerald has advanced training in the treatment of bite problems. As a Spear-trained dentist, he is able to address occlusal disease with comprehensive treatment to improve the comfort, function, and health of the bite.
What is TMJ?
“TMJ” actually stands for temporomandibular joint which is the jaw joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull on both sides. It is also the common term used to describe a range of symptoms related to a temporomandibular disorder or occlusal disease. Dr. Gerald works with you to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort so that your results are lasting and support overall oral health and wellness.
A bite problem or TMJ can often lead to other dental concerns such as damaged or worn teeth, and even loose or shifting teeth as a result of ongoing teeth grinding. Treating TMJ as early as possible is important and can help you to avoid permanent damage to the teeth, gums and jaw joints. Common signs that you have TMJ can include:
- Jaw pain or “tired jaws”
- Clicking or popping sounds when chewing
- Jaws that lock or become “stuck”
- Frequent headaches often focused around the temples
- Ear pain or feeling of fullness in the ears
- Shoulder and neck muscle tension
- Teeth grinding
Treating TMJ Symptoms
Dr. Gerald looks for the signs of a bite problem during dental exams. Worn teeth are a common side effect and can indicate that you are grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding is often associated with TMJ and can be facilitated by malocclusion or tension on the jaw muscles. If your teeth appear worn or your jaw joints are not functioning comfortably Dr. Gerald may recommend the use of a nightguard. Fitted like a sports mouth guard, this oral appliance is designed to allow the jaw to rest comfortably in a natural position to relieve muscle tension. It also prevents the teeth from coming into contact with each other.
Dr. Gerald works with patients to reduce jaw tension, restore tooth damage and address any dental problems contributing to a bite disorder. This can range from muscle exercises to orthodontics, depending on your specific needs. A personalized approach is key to a lasting result and the resolution of your symptoms.
Welcoming New Patients
If you are concerned about the health of your bite or experience the common symptoms of TMJ we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gerald. Contact our Vienna VA dentist office to discuss your concerns and explore your treatment options.