Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the place where your jaw attaches to your skull to enable you to close and open your jaw smoothly. Sometimes the TMJ is damaged or injured, resulting in a debilitating condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD). If you're having pain or hearing sounds whenever you open your jaw, schedule an appointment with Dr. William Shattuck to see if you have TMD. At his dental practice, Radiant Dental Care, in Haslet, TX, Dr. Shattuck utilizes innovative tools to examine and care for your TMD to ease pain. Your TMJ therapy will be dependent on the cause of your TMD and your particular condition. Dr. Shattuck focuses his TMD treatments on malocclusion-centered (bite misalignment) therapies; however, a few other options are oral appliances (night or mouth guards), dental restorations, and much more.
Temporomandibular joint disorder might be brought on by an injury to the jaw, years of grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw (bruxism), or a misaligned bite (dental malocclusion). Other conditions that might lead to TMD include a tumor in the TMJ or arthritis. Sometimes the reason for TMD is uncertain, but if you're having signs and symptoms, Dr. Shattuck can diagnose and care for your TMJ. The most typical signs of TMD are tenderness or pain at the jaw, especially in the morning or evening, involuntary contractions in your face muscles, feeling as if your jaw is rigid or stuck, frequent headaches that begin near your ears (tension headaches), and premature fracture and erosion of your surface enamel. Another sign is hearing cracking, clicking, or popping when you open your jaw.
What To Expect
To diagnose a temporomandibular disorder, Dr. Shattuck will listen carefully to understand your concerns prior to a physical exam. Throughout the examination, he will evaluate how your jaw moves and start looking for indications of misalignment, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding. He will also palpate the jawbone and lower face for any swelling and tenderness. Dr. Shattuck might order digital images of your lower head along with an analysis of your bite to search for underlying factors that could determine your therapy approach. Depending on the examination, he will discuss your treatment choices.
One option may be orthodontic movement of your teeth into a position that allows your TMJ to seat properly. Due to the advanced accuracy and palliative effect of Invisalign aligners, Dr. Shattuck exclusively uses them for this treatment.
Dr. Shattuck may determine that occlusal equilibration is the best treatment for your symptoms. After creating models of your upper and lower teeth and bite, he will mount them in an artificial jaw in order to determine the exact areas where malocclusion is forcing your TMJ out of position. In a series of appointments, Dr. Shattuck will use this information to gently polish and reshape your enamel to stabilize your bite. He will also evaluate the progress of your treatment and how much the inflammation in your muscles and TMJ have decreased.
Dr. Shattuck may also prescribe a nighttime protective appliance to help seat your TMJ in a more comfortable position at night.
If Dr. Shattuck determines that your TMJ has been permanently damaged, he may refer you to a physical therapist specializing in TMJ disorders or to a TMJ specialist for evaluation for possible surgical intervention.
Along with treatments to fix the root cause of your temporomandibular joint disorder, Dr. Shattuck may suggest different means to ease pain and other problems on your own. This may include a liquid or soft food diet, not biting your nails or chewing gum, applying heat to your jaw, and relaxation methods. Dr. Shattuck may also show you exercises to strengthen your jaws or prescribe medication to relax your muscles (and to ease pain, nervousness, or even inflammation).
You should continue to go to follow-up appointments so Dr. Shattuck can assess the results from your TMJ treatment. If your therapy isn't working, he might think about another strategy. After your TMD has been treated, you should keep going to yearly dental examinations at Radiant Dental Care to maintain your oral health.
Dental insurance policies for diagnosing TMJ pain and TMD remedies will vary, so we'll get in touch with your provider to figure out your personal expenses. Whether you do or do not have dental insurance, Dr. Shattuck will discuss price quotes with you when explaining your treatment choices. To make all the remedies more easily affordable, Radiant Dental Care takes many payment options and can help you find medical financing via CareCredit.
Advanced TMD Treatments
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain can make it tough to eat, talk, and enjoy your day-to-day life. Since there are lots of potential causes, signs, and remedies to treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), make an appointment with Dr. William Shattuck at his practice in Haslet, TX. He will perform a detailed exam prior to your diagnosis and talk to you about treatment choices. Get in touch with our staff at Radiant Dental Care to learn more and plan an appointment.