Tag Archives: TMJ dysfunction

I think I have lock jaw.

Hi,

I have been told that I have TMD. I am 17 and have dealt with lock jaw for over three years now. It usually just clicks, but the other day it was really bothering me. So I decided to use an old sports mouth piece I had to avoid clenching. When I removed it, my jaw locked. When I went into the dentist, they said they wanted to do an impression so a splint could be made. It should be a few more days but then I should have the splint. I just don’t know if I can take it any longer. My articular disc is out of place and has been locked up for a couple days now. I have been taking anti-inflammatory drugs and wearing that mouth guard to help.

Is there anything else that can be done to keep my jaw from being locked? Do you know any tricks to unlock it?

– Leslie in North Carolina

Leslie,

Individuals that suffer from lock jaw have a condyle that doesn’t return to the proper position. The condyle is the head of the lower jaw and the disc that separates the skull from the condyle is the articular disc. This sounds like what is troubling you and causing your temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Sometimes this painful condition can last up to two weeks. And the most common TMJ treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs and in some cases muscle relaxers. Individuals with TMJ / TMD may do better eating soft foods if their jaw gets locked up. Heat and ice may help periodically, as well to reduce the inflammation.

The splint is a TMJ treatment that will reposition the condyle into a better position in correlation with the disc. You may notice some popping and clicking on occasion but hopefully your symptoms are noticeably improved. When the splint treatment doesn’t work, you may need to consider seeing a TMJ dentist or TMJ specialist that can explore your options. Sometimes surgery is recommended to reposition the disc for the best long-term function. There is much training that is required beyond dental school to treat this condition well, so be sure to make sure your dentist has TMJ credentials and proven treatment success.

Here are some tips to avoid increased aggravation of the TMJ and the muscles around it.

  • Relaxation exercises (yoga or meditation) work well for some.
  • Avoid gum.
  • Soft foods will help and stay away from chewy/sticky food.
  • Try not to open your mouth all the way when yawning if possible.
  • When you are awake, do not grind or clench.
  • At night, be sure to wear your splint. This is when most grinding and clenching take place. But don’t use the splint as a long-term solution because issues with bite alignment may become apparent.
  • Orthodontics may correct the alignment of teeth if this is a cause for the TMJ dysfunction.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

My porcelain veneer is broken from grinding.

I have dealt with grinding my teeth for a long time. I’ve seen a TMJ dentist that had me get a night guard. This TMJ treatment has helped a lot.

Well, several months ago, I decided I wanted to improve the look of my smile. So I went ahead and got porcelain veneers done. One night I didn’t wear my night guard and I woke up to a broken veneer. I guess it cracked while I was asleep. Do you think the dentist will replace it for me without charging me?

– Lidia in Florida

Lidia,

As far as getting the porcelain veneer replaced, it is truly up to the dentist. Since the grinding is something that you have dealt with for years, there is no obligation that the dentist must replace the veneer, from a legal perspective. But there are many cosmetic dentists or TMJ specialists that also do cosmetic dentistry that may sympathize with you. Hopefully your dentist is one of these, since it has only been a few months.

There is always a possibility that you will only pay the lab fee, as long as you agree to continue wearing your night guard. That said, it all depends on the directions your dentist gave you when the veneers were placed. If you were already warned about the cautions of forgetting to wear the night guard for your TMJ treatment, they may not feel too bad about the situation. Then again, if there was no warning about the mouth guard given, than you may be able to make a stronger case for yourself.

It also isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that the porcelain veneer that broke can be repaired. A good cosmetic dentist may be able to use dental bonding to reapply the veneer. This all depends on how and where the veneer broke and if it was a clean break. It is also extremely important to see a cosmetic dentist that has an expert skill level.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist.

My crown feels tender

It has been over a month since I had a crown placed on the upper right side of my mouth. My tooth never used to bother me but now every time I bite down on that side, it hurts. When I talked to the dentist about it, he said to just give it some time. But now my jawbone and ear feel like they are starting to hurt. Do you think this is related? Any suggestions?

– Renee in Arizona

Renee,

It could very well be that your bite has not been adjusted like it should after your crown. When you bite or chew, your teeth come together in a certain way. So if your bite is off or is misaligned, it will continually bother you until it is fixed. The jaw pain could be related to the tempro-mandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint where the upper and lower jaw meet. The TMJ operates similarly to a ball and socket and allows your jaw to open and close properly. If your teeth are not coming together properly, the muscles around the TMJ can be aggravated. If left as is, you may be at risk for developing TMJ disorder which can cause extreme pain and headaches is left untreated. Sometimes people don’t even realize the fact that they are grinding their teeth while sleeping which may be contributing to your situation. Other TMJ symptoms are clicking, ringing heard in the ears, and issues with opening and closing the joint.

Feel free to take ibuprofen as needed, up to three times a day to help with the jaw pain. Hot and cold packs alternated may also help with any jaw irritation. This should help with the increased inflammation until you can get into your dentist to get your bite adjusted.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Related link: TMJ treatment

Will TMJ be covered with my insurance?

I have been a TMJ sufferer for many years. I feel like I just have to get something done because I just can’t stand the pain anymore. Do you know if my insurance will cover TMJ treatment?

– Leslie in New Jersey

It is very unlikely that your medical insurance will cover TMJ treatment. Even though you would think otherwise. Since TMJ causes such painful headaches and other physical ailments many people think their medical coverage will take care of it. But it is pretty common that somewhere in your medical insurance plan there is some clause to exempt them from covering any kind of dental work, including any physical issues that result from dental work or the need for dental treatment.

If you are referring to your dental insurance, there is a possibility that some of the TMJ treatment may be covered. Dental plans vary greatly, so it would be difficult to give you any kind of specific information. Give your dental insurance company a call ahead of time so you are prepared. Realistically, the coverage will probably be quite limited as to what they will cover or assist with.

All that said, it is very wise to seek treatment from an experienced TMJ dentist like Dr. Steve Bader. He has had many successes in treating painful TMJ disorder and is especially experienced TMJ treatments like Neuromuscular Therapy.

Hopefully this helps answer your question so there are no surprises when you seek treatment.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

 

Should my crowns touch my other teeth?

Hello,

I have had several crowns, and I was recently fitted for two new crowns. One of them is going to be a porcelain crown and the other gold. The upper rear and adjacent molars are the two teeth that I’m referring to. The end product is leaving a gap of at least one millimeter or so from the bottom teeth which also have crowns on them. I was under the impression that they should touch the opposing teeth. Was this done correctly? I’d like to know because I think I need to have another one done on the other side.

– David in Pennsylvania

David,

To answer your question, yes, a dental crown should touch the opposing tooth. So much goes into the study of how teeth come together. This study is called occlusion and is very in depth. There are many factors that dictate precisely how and where crowned teeth touch.

Another important factor to consider is how the upper and lower teeth come together in regard to how your jaw and bite function. A properly aligned jaw should have all your teeth touching at the same time when you clench your jaw. There are two patterns of occlusion when moving your teeth from side to side. The first is called canine-protected occlusion where only your canine teeth are touching. The canines are designed to handle the additional sideways stress because they have longer tooth roots.

The other pattern of occlusion for side to side movement is called group function. This means that when you grind your teeth sideways, all of the posterior teeth touch evenly because they are sloped similarly.

You may or may not have heard about a test that a dentist can use to check your bite. A thin plastic strip is placed between your back teeth. The strip is very thin, approximately 0.05 millimeters thick. Basically, wherever the strip is placed on the back teeth, you should be able to keep the strip in place while the dentist tries to remove it. Your bite should hold it in place.

Even if your back teeth are touching, they still may not be touching correctly. In turn, this could throw your bite out of alignment. This is serious because it is one of the factors involved with TMJ disorder.

This post is sponsored by Newton, MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

Related link: TMJ therapy