Carlsbad TMJ Treatment

Treating TMJ

Are you experiencing problems in your jaws? Do they click or make popping sounds when you move your mouth? Do you also have ear pains, headaches, and soreness in your jaws? If so, you might be suffering from a jaw-related condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Dr. Addy carefully examines your symptoms to diagnose and treat TMD using effective bite aligners designed for your specific oral anatomy.

To learn more about TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder, please contact Carlsbad Beach Dental, Drew Addy DDS, at 760-729-5881 or schedule an appointment online today.

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What are TMJ and TMD?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is positioned just underneath your ears, connecting your lower jaws to the rest of your head. It’s one of the most important joints on your face because it facilitates all mouth-related movements, allowing you to speak, chew, laugh, smile, etc. However, if your TMJ is weakened, damaged, inflamed, or irritated due to trauma or overuse, you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

TMD: Symptoms

TMJ disorder leads to the misalignment of the jaws, causing severe jaw pains and discomfort. Jaw misalignment is the primary cause of TMJ pains. While some of the symptoms of TMD relate to the jaws (popping sounds, clicking, jaw pains, etc.), other symptoms don’t seem to have any direct connection to TMJ. As such, patients might experience chronic headaches, nasal congestion, or vertigo because of underlying TMD without their awareness.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders:

  • Swellings in the jaw joints
  • Jaw pains and discomfort
  • Inability to open and shut your mouth properly
  • Clicking and popping noises
  • Grinding sounds while chewing
  • Increased sensitivity of the teeth
  • Earaches
  • Ringing sounds in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Chronic headaches
  • Painful sensations and pressure in the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinus problems
  • Neck pains
  • Shoulder pains
  • Backaches
  • Vertigo
  • Digestive problems
  • Improper posture

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“It is always a wonderful experience at Dr. Addy’s office. Everyone is so kind, helpful and soothing. No matter what service we have received at Carlsbad Beach Dental it has been outstanding service!”

TMD: Diagnosis

TMD doesn’t resolve itself but rather worsens with time. If left untreated, you might eventually experience migraines, excruciating facial pains, and other problems. As such, if you identify some of the symptoms mentioned earlier, you must contact our dentist at Carlsbad immediately. Dr. Addy has specialized training in neuromuscular dentistry, i.e., the branch of dentistry related to the connection between the mouth and the rest of the face, including the TMJ.

Your consultation with Dr. Addy will start with a brief discussion wherein he’ll ask you about your symptoms and review your medical history. Please communicate all your symptoms freely, even if they seem unrelated to the TMJ or other facial problems. Following the discussion, he’ll run a series of physical and screening tests to identify the possibility of TMD. The physical tests usually look for evident symptoms, and the screening tests examine the jaws’ structure.

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The Following Are the Tests Used to Diagnose Underlying TMD:

  • Physical tests to gauge the mobility and functionality of your jaws.
  • Tests to gauge possible discomfort around the jaws by applying gentle pressure.
  • Asking you to open and close your mouth to listen for clicking and popping sounds.
  • Screening tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to examine the internal structures of the TMJ.

After the physical and screening tests, Dr. Addy will review the results and determine if you have TMD and its underlying root cause. Based on the root cause and severity of the problem, he’ll discuss the relevant treatment options and lifestyle changes necessary to relieve TMJ pains. The lifestyle changes might include dietary changes and physical therapy to gradually adjust your jaw movements and placement, relieving pressure from your TMJ.

As mentioned earlier, the pain from TMD gradually increases in scale until you have excruciating facial pains. If left untreated, TMJ disorder also increases the risk of damaging your teeth, leading to further complications. You must act decisively to prevent TMJ disorder from spreading any further — contact Dr. Addy to discuss your diagnosis and treatment options today.

TMD Treatment (The Kois Deprogrammer)

In most cases, TMJ disorder occurs due to jaw misalignment and can be treated with the realignment of your jaws in the optimal position. At Carlsbad Beach Dental, Drew Addy DDS, we recommend The Kois Deprogrammer, also known as The Freedom Appliance,  to correct your jaw misalignment and bite problems, providing relief from jaw pains and the TMJ disorder symptoms. Dr. Addy carefully constructs the retainer according to your specific oral anatomy to ensure quick and effective results.

The Freedom Appliance is a simple orthodontic retainer that repositions your oral anatomy over an extended period. Like any other orthodontic aligner, you have to wear the device for 2 to 3 weeks for almost 24 hours a day, removing it only during your meals and oral hygiene time. You can take the retainers off when you’re brushing, flossing, or eating, but it must be worn at all other times. The plastic retainer covers the hard palate, positioned against the root of the mouth. It’s secured in place with a wire that goes around your teeth, thereby deprogramming the tense jaw muscles. It prevents your teeth from touching and grinding against each other, allowing your jaw muscles to gradually relax. Over time, the jaw settles into the optimal position, and the muscle memory of clenched jaws fades away.

After approximately one month, your jaws and mouth will maintain the same point of contact as to when you’re wearing the Freedom Appliance, signifying the end of the treatment. Your muscles will stop making your teeth clench and grind against each other, and you’ll feel immense relief around the jaws. Patients undergoing the Kois deprogrammer treatment note a marked improvement in their quality of life due to optimal bite positioning. The Kois deprogrammer is also incredibly easy to clean and maintain. You can simply clean it with toothpaste and warm water while brushing your teeth.

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