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TMJ Detroit

Relief from Painful Jaw Disorders

TMJ DetroitThe temporomandibular joint, more commonly known as TMJ, allows the jaw to rotate and provide function for the mouth. Unfortunately, when placed under stress, this joint can function improperly, leading to pain, dysfunction, and other oral health problems for patients. At DiLoreto Dental Care, we offer TMJ disorder treatment to patients throughout the Detroit area who wish to restore comfort and proper function to their mouth. With a thorough examination, DiLoreto Dental Care can diagnose temporomandibular joint disorders, and provide an appropriate course of treatment. If you think you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, contact our dental practice today to schedule a free consultation.

What Causes TMJ?

TMJD can be caused by several factors. Malocclusion or the misalignment of teeth can cause stress on the joint as it closes, consequently straining the ligaments, muscles, and disc. As the ligaments stretch or break, the disc can move and be displaced. This often manifests itself as a clicking or popping noise as the joint rotates. Pain is associated with this when the bones, which are highly sensitive, come into contact with one another, instead of the cushioning of the articular disc.

Bruxism or grinding of the teeth is another cause of TMJ. This causes excessive attrition and wear of the contacts between the upper and lower teeth. This wear strains the joint and muscles as the upper and lower teeth glide over one another abnormally. Furthermore, as these teeth wear down, the normal function of chewing becomes stressful to the joint, ligaments, and muscles as the teeth no longer move as they were designed. This is also seen when fixed or removable prosthetic dentistry treatments or crowns are fabricated to the wrong occlusal scheme. Simply put, sometimes a crown can be too high and cause problems.

Other factors that can cause TMJD include:

  • Emotional stress which can cause clenching or bruxing
  • Chewing habits such as biting one’s nails or chewing gum, which leads to overuse of the muscles
  • Injuries to the jaw, joint, facial bones, or muscles
  • Osteoid or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Occupational tasks such as straining positions for the head and neck
  • Opening the mouth too wide


Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

A thorough examination of the hard and soft tissues of the head and neck will clearly diagnose if there is a TMJ disorder. At his Detroit-area practice, Dr. DiLoreto will examine the muscles of the mouth as well as the muscle on each side of the head and neck. Radiographs or an MRI can also reveal if there are any structural problems with the hard tissues. A clinical examination of the teeth will reveal if misalignment is causing a functional strain to the joints or muscles. The history of the patient’s habits, as well as an examination of when pain occurs, can also be very helpful.

TMJ Treatment

TMJ treatment should always begin with conservative reversible procedures. Preferably, treatment includes the bite splint or occlusal guard. This acrylic, removable appliance is clear and hard, and is usually worn at night or when pain occurs. The occlusal guard is made to allow for functional movement of the teeth. When the guard is worn, the jaw is slightly open and the muscles are in a relaxed position. As inflammation of the joint diminishes, the bite splint will need to be adjusted to prevent the teeth from improperly contacting and causing stress to the joint and muscles.

Based on the patient’s specific needs, Dr. DiLoreto may try a number of TMJ treatments before suggesting surgery. Recently there has been success using Botulinum toxin. This is frequently seen under the brand name BOTOX® Cosmetic or Dysport. Botulinum toxin blocks neuromuscular transmissions through a decreased release of the substance acetylcholine, essentially weakening the muscles and discouraging excess movement. Injections of botulinum toxin into over-stimulated muscles of the jaw can help minimize stress to the joint and muscles, thus eliminating the pain associated with TMJ disorders.

In some instances, the teeth are so drastically misaligned that the only option is major restorative or prosthetic dentistry. When damage occurs to hard structures, surgery may be required. At DiLoreto Dental, we use surgery as a last resort for the treatment of TMJ.

Contact our Dental Practice Today

TMJ disorders are not only painful, but they can lead to further oral health complications including misalignment of the teeth and damage to the jaw bone. At DiLoreto Dental, our goal is to help every patient smile comfortably. If you think that you may be suffering from TMJ disorder,contact our Detroit-area dental practice to learn about the TMJ treatment options available.