Ridgetop Dental provides comprehensive diagnosis and personalized care for bite disorders, often called TMJ for the name of the jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the base of the skull. Although there are a wide range of causes of a bite related disorder, there are a few common symptoms that most patients experience that signal a dysfunction in the TMJ. Dr. Datta Malyavantham and his associates at Ridgetop Dental can work with you to analyze the function of your entire occlusal system (teeth, gums and jaw joints) for more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning to restore oral health and alleviate your pain or discomfort.
The goal of treatment is to first, alleviate the muscle tension or spasm in the jaw that is causing painful symptoms and second, offer long term dental health and comfort by addressing the underlying problem affecting bite function.
Common Signs & Symptoms of TMJ
If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms of a bite problem, schedule a visit for a complete exam and evaluation of the function of your bite:
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Clicking and popping, or pain while eating
- Jaw locking (both open and close)
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding (day or night)
- Sensitive teeth
- Unexplained broken fillings or crowns
- Chipped, worn or flattened teeth
- Teeth shifting out of position
Seeking early treatment can help to avoid tooth damage or muscle damage that may require more complex treatment to resolve.
Common Causes of Bite Disorders
Your TMJ disorder, or bite dysfunction, can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are often occurring, either knowingly or unknowingly.
Many patients grind their teeth and experience TMJ symptoms as a reaction to stress, while others have bite problems related:
- Arthritis or other disease related joint tissue degeneration
Understanding your medical and dental health history, combined with a thorough evaluation using a Doppler device and digital x-rays can provide a more accurate diagnosis of where the imbalance or dysfunction lies, allowing for more comprehensive and predictable treatment.
Treatment for TMJ Disorders and Bite Problems
The key to successful and lasting treatment for a TMJ-related disorder is the thorough evaluation of the occlusal system. In many situations, treating only the symptoms without identifying and treating the underlying cause leads to a break down of your oral health over time.
Dr. Datta will recommend the most suitable treatment options for your symptoms and your oral health. Options may include:
- Mouthguard/Splint therapy: in the absence of an underlying dental problem and to prevent teeth grinding, a custom mouthguard or dental splint is used to reposition the jaw.
- Restorative Dentistry: if teeth are damaged, worn or not making proper contact, bite equilibration can be performed using restorative dental treatments such as dental crowns and tooth bonding.
- Orthodontics: to resolve bite problems resulting from malocclusion, we may recommend orthodontic treatments to straighten your smile and relieve jaw tension. Dr. Datta is a Northern VA Invisalign® provider and offers clear braces for mild to moderate concerns.
TMJ Disorder FAQs
How long does it take for TMJ to go away?
The severity of a TMJ disorder is different in each patient. For this reason, there is no measurable way to tell when your disorder will go away. Some people live with TMJ issues all their lives because they do not seek treatment, or do not even know that they are suffering from TMJ. Your pain can be managed with treatment, but TMJ will not go away in its own.
Can sleeping on your side cause TMJ?
Sleeping on your side and on your stomach are two of the worst ways you can sleep if you suffer from a TMJ disorder or symptoms. The best way to sleep is on your back, facing up. Sleeping on your back can help alleviate jaw pain and relax the airway while sleeping.
Do I need surgery to get rid of my TMJ disorder?
No. Most patients do not need to seek oral surgery to fix TMJ issues. Oral surgery is usually reserved for patients with severe and debilitating temporomandibular joint pain. Your dentist will determine what treatment is best for you. We usually recommend the most conservative and least-invasive treatments first.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are concerned that you may have a bite problem or TMJ disorder, schedule a visit with us in one of our convenient Northern Virginia office locations. Dr. Datta or an associate will provide a thorough evaluation of your bite function and overall dental health condition. Dr. Datta will then be able to offer the proper TMJ treatment in Sterling, VA and Northern Virginia. To schedule your appointment, request an appointment online or call one of our two Northern VA office locations:
- Sterling: (703) 520-7410
- Reston: (571) 313-7010