What is TMJ?
TMJ is the jaw joint. The problems with TMJ can be very complicated due to its elaborate composition. TMJ does unique sliding hinge motion and it is connected to its counterpart on either side unlike any other joint in the body. The teeth play a critical role in the function and health of TMJ and other associated structures, like the head, neck muscles, and ligaments.
Why is my jaw popping and clicking when I eat or talk?
We have seven different groups of muscles attached to our skull and neck that work together to open and close our mouths. If any of these muscles are strained, it can cause an unbalanced function and lead to popping and clicking. The muscle strains can be the result of habits like grinding and clenching, or an uneven bite. While some people do not experience any other symptoms, some suffer from headaches, neck aches, and lockjaw due to jaw joint-related problems.
What can be done for the TMD symptoms?
Many times painkillers and muscle relaxants are prescribed for patients with TMJ problems. Dr. Alptekin has been searching through the literature for a solution without side effects brought about by medications. The therapeutic lasers are the perfect answer for those people suffering from jaw joint-related soreness, lockjaw, and pain. 15 minutes of treatment gives immediate pain relief and follow-up treatments help with healing the tissues and preventing future problems.
Laser stops pain from TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia
Our Patients experience the benefits of Cold Lasers. They are surprised how easy the procedure is to have it done, fast and effective.
Learn more about TMJ and Trigeminal Neuralgia laser treatment directly form some of our patients.
How does clenching or grinding hurt the teeth?
As a result of clenching and grinding the edges of the teeth first become flat and they continuously get shorter. The top and bottom jaws get closer as the height of the teeth is lost. This causes the loss of a smile line and collapses the face since lips are not adequately supported. Loss of enamel will expose the inner layer of the teeth leading to faster damage.
How can I stop grinding and clenching habits?
Investigating the root cause of these habits is the first step for the right treatment. Nighttime activities can be related to breathing issues, stress, or neurological activity. The effects of these unconscious habits are minimized by the use of custom fabricated guards that fit around your teeth for night time use.
When patients clench during the day it is usually a conscious effort for them to avoid the habit. Grinding, on the other hand, can be the result of struggling to find a comfortable fit between the top and bottom teeth.
When the bite is not balanced, the biting forces, which can go up to 160 lbs, are not evenly distributed throughout the jaw. These heavy loads which are concentrated on certain teeth due to high points or premature contact, cause gum line recession. Soreness around mouth, teeth sensitivity, head and neck aches, and distorted posture can be the result of jaw joint disorders.
Why does my bite feel off?
Changes in our mouth, like receiving a tooth restoration or orthodontic treatments lead to changes in relations of top and bottom teeth. In follow-ups to these treatments, the bite should be evaluated to assure they are in ideal closing relation. Even if teeth look perfectly aligned, if the relationship between upper and lower teeth are ignored, the bite could be compromised. Common results of this disharmony are tooth wear and receding gums, which jeopardizes the longevity of teeth.
Is there a way to make sure my bite fits well?
Many patients may remember the time their dentist placed a new restoration in their mouth and had them bite into a paper. The purpose of doing this is to recognize any discrepancies with the new restoration and adjust it. Although being a good idea this technique lacks some very important details; namely, the timing and intensity of the bite.
If our jaws only opened and closed in one way (like a crocodile) perhaps this may not have been a problem. However, because of sliding hinge motions on our jaws, it's crucial to be able to evaluate the intensity and duration of chewing function. For example, a premature contact of two teeth may be perceived by the central nervous system as a contracting signal and may result in muscle spasm.
Dr. Alptekin uses T-scan technology to identify any occlusal discrepancies by having patients bite on to a smart digital paper. T- scan technology allows him to detect the timing and intensity of a bite, and he uses this information to equilibrate the bite. Patients report relief immediately.