determines which symptoms or problems a person may acquire?
The answer is a combination of several factors which include:
- How far their teeth displace the joints from their correct position
- How much do they brux (grinding of the teeth at night while sleeping)
- How much stress they're under - stress increases bruxing DRAMATICALLY.
- How genetically susceptible they are. This is probably determined by the persons heredity. Many people have a bite that is "off", yet they do not show any TMJ symptoms.
What is the solution? How do we treat TMJ problems?SPLINT THERAPY (Mandibular Repositioning Appliances)
TMJ therapy is not a CURE ! We generally manage the problem. So, successful treatment means that the jaw is put into the least traumatic position so that future damage and pain will be minimal.
When a splint is constructed correctly it will provide an "ideal bite" relationship. This allows the joints to go to their correct Physiological position. When the splint is placed, it instantly provides a bite where the muscles, joint and teeth do not antagonize each other and allows them to work in harmony with each other. IF symptoms diminish or disappear while wearing a splint, then it can be assumed that the problem truly was TMJ in nature, and was related to the way the teeth positioned the jaw.
Definitive treatment is transitioning someone from the splint, back to their natural teeth. While VERY carefully keeping their “system” in balance by maintaining the correct relationships between joint, muscles and teeth.
This definitive treatment can consist of one of the following or a combination of more than one of the following:OTHER THERAPY THAT MAY BE REQUIRED TO AUGMENT DENTAL THERAPY
- The person can continue to wear a bite appliance as required indefinitely
- The tops of the teeth can be adjusted so that occlude correctly (Occlusal Equilibration).
- Crowns, bridges and/or partials made to give a proper bite relationship.
- Orthodontic therapy (braces)
- Jaw surgery (not within the joint itself) so as to correct an upper or lower jaw that doesn't’t allow a proper bite.
There are times where splint therapy alone will not accomplish all that we would like, in those cases it may be necessary to perform other adjunctive therapy such as
- Physical therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Jaw joint surgery (only in very limited circumstances)
- Muscle relaxers and /or anti-inflammatory drug therapy.
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