Issues with jaw alignment and movement can result in general wear, chipping and cracks on teeth if not properly dealt with in time. Wear and tear on your teeth can result in painful and costly repairs or even the loss of the tooth entirely, not to mention the ongoing soreness and pain that often accompanies this condition.
Occlusion is word that dentists use to describe how your teeth your jaw muscles and your jaw joints work together. When these three systems are aligned and in balance, you are able to eat, talk, laugh smile and do all the things you normally do day to day.
When things go wrong here, we can see damage to any one or all three of these systems as a result. Damage to teeth shows up as wear, flat spots on teeth (wear facets), or chipping and cracks in teeth. If damage like this is left to progress, it can lead to painful broken teeth, difficult and costly repairs and sometimes loss of teeth altogether. Identifying these problems early helps you make informed choices about the benefits and timing of treatment.
Temporomandibular Dysfunction TMD (TMJ)
Damage to jaw muscles shows up as tenderness to pressure, jaw muscle discomfort and occasionally headaches. Mild muscle discomfort is generally hardly noticed in most people, and doesn’t factor significantly into their overall health. In some people, an increased resting activity in the muscles that move and support your head and neck doesn’t lead to tenderness, it can cause real pain.
Dental offices play a role in helping people with these kinds of problems by determining the contribution of their occlusion to the pain and working towards management in a conservative manner.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Damaged jaw joints can make clicking or popping sounds, grinding sounds, and sometimes a limited range of motion can be experienced. Jaw joints with clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing generally indicate a history of damage that has healed, and are found frequently in the population. Noises can sometimes be made louder if jaw muscles become tense, or if another trauma is experienced. In rare cases jaw joint damage can be degenerative in nature and can lead to changes in your bite, and pain in your jaw joints themselves.
Problems occur either as a result of trauma (accidents or contact sports injuries), or because of what we call parafunction, generally clenching or grinding your teeth.
Our goal is to determine a baseline of history of damage if any, and to mitigate the possibility of further damage to these systems of teeth, muscles and jaw joints. When it becomes apparent that treatment could help any of these issues, we work with you to find the best ways to manage that process for you.