TMJ / TMD Therapy in Ponte Vedra Beach
What do you do when you have chronic headaches? What about jaw pain? Facial muscle pain? Jaw joint pain? Millions of Americans suffer from pain in the neck, head, and face. Many of these cases can be grouped into the broad category of TMD, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder. You may be more familiar with the term TMJ disorder. Dr. Harth and Dr. Townsend have years of experience treating the symptoms that arise from the TMJ. If you live in Ponte Vedra Beach or surrounding communities and are experiencing TMJ pain, we encourage you to contact us!
How Do We Treat TMD?
Every new patient in our office is thoroughly examined for issues with their TMJ, facial muscles, and bite. TMD issues can be some of the most complex in dentistry and require an in-depth knowledge base that can only be developed with extensive training. Dr. Harth and Dr. Townsend both have hundreds of hours of training in the evaluation and treatment of TMD. They also have a variety of technology at their disposal to aid in evaluation and treatment, including T-scan (a digital bite pressure analyzer) as well as Doppler (an aid in evaluation of soft tissue within the joint). The options for treatment of TMD often parallel those of other musculoskeletal disorders. A concerted effort is made to avoid aggressive or irreversible treatment involving surgery and other procedures. This conservative approach includes changes in habits, physical therapy, medication and orthotic splints. The goal is always to attempt the simplest treatment first. Feel free to contact us any time with any questions or to schedule a consultation.
One method for the treatment of TMJ/TMD disorders is with equilibration or occlusal adjustments. This strategy is usually the preferred option when the teeth are misaligned and throw the bite off balance. By precisely adjusting the size or shape of certain teeth, Dr. Harth or Dr. Townsend can take the pressure off the jaw joint, allowing it to function properly and relieving you of the discomfort associated with TMJ/TMD.
Occlusal splints are custom-fitted appliances that realign the jaw to take unnecessary pressure off the temporomandibular joints. It is a nonsurgical, reversible treatment that can provide the relief you seek from TMJ/TMD discomfort. The occlusal splint is a plastic device that is customized for your unique oral anatomy. In addition to realigning the jaw joints, it also cushions the tooth enamel to reduce the damaging effects of bruxism associated with TMJ/TMD.
TMD is a complex condition, so it is only natural that you would like to know more about it and how to treat it. That is why we have compiled answers to some of the questions our patients commonly ask about TMD and TMJ therapy in Ponte Vedra Beach. If you do not find the information you were hoping for, please contact us directly. We will be happy to speak with you!
Who Is Most at Risk for TMD?
Anyone can develop TMD. However, you may be at a higher risk of suffering from this condition if you:
- Are female
- Have arthritis
- Have suffered a jaw injury in the past
- Tend to grind and clench your teeth
- Have a connective tissue disorder
Will TMD Go Away on Its Own?
This is a difficult question to answer. In many cases, TMD symptoms do disappear on their own after a while. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem is solved. There may still be an underlying anatomical defect that is affecting the jaw’s function. Rather than waiting for your pain to subside on its own, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with us so we can pinpoint the cause of your discomfort and design a treatment plan that will provide long-lasting relief.
How Much Does TMJ Therapy Cost?
The cost of your TMJ therapy will depend on the specific treatment that your dentist in Ponte Vedra Beach recommends for you. Logically, a major procedure like surgery will cost more than less invasive measures. During your appointment, our team will be upfront with you about pricing and help you to explore your payment options. We will also verify whether your medical and/or dental insurance policy will cover a portion of the cost of your TMD treatment.
What if TMD Goes Untreated for a Long Period of Time?
The human body is a complex creation that is full of interconnected systems. Therefore, the health of the TMJ can have a bearing on your entire musculoskeletal physiology. Letting TMD go untreated for a long period of time could lead to a number of painful complications, including chronic headaches, earaches, and poor posture (which can in turn lead to additional aches and pains).
What Can I Do at Home to Ease TMD Pain?
Professional treatment is very important for addressing TMD. However, there may be a few things you can do at home to manage your symptoms, including:
- Eat soft foods that are easy to chew
- Do not chew gum
- Take time to de-stress every day
- Perform facial exercises and stretches
- Use heat or cold therapy to relax your overworked facial muscles