Springtime TMJ Problems on Teenage Patients

gif courtesy of giphy.com

gif courtesy of giphy.com

The temporomandibular joints (TMJs)  Disorder or TMJ disorder is a problem in your TMJ – the joint that connects the jawbone to the bone of the skull in front of the ears. The TMJ acts like a hinge that allows you to move your jaw up, down and side to side so you can chew, talk and yawn. The TMJ disorder happens when the jaw joints malfunctions. It usually causes head pain, facial pain, and neck pain.

Teens have more TMJ problems in the springtime than in any other times of the year. This is typically due to the extra stress teens experience in the spring from exams, homework, projects, prom, and more. This disorder can also be caused by improper and incorrect posture. A person who suffers from TMJ experiences severe pain that gives them trouble sleeping, eating and concentrating. The following are some of the symptoms that may be experienced by a person with malfunctioning and misaligned muscles and jaw:

  • Pain in the head, ears, neck, shoulders, back and along the jawlines.
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Locking, clicking and locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty biting
  • Facial inflammation
  • Vertigo

Orthodontic Treatment

A teen suffering from TMJ may take pain relievers to help relieve TMJ pain and should get enough rest. When these methods don’t seem to help, the parents must bring their teen to an orthodontist right away. An orthodontist specializes in correcting the misalignment of the teeth and treating jaw problems such as TMJ disorder. Treating TMJ may vary, based on your individual diagnosis. The orthodontist begins with the most conservative corrective treatment before considering the more aggressive TMJ treatments.

Splints

The most common nonsurgical treatment approach for TMJ dysfunction is the use of a jaw splint. A TMJ splint is similar to a mouth guard that protects the teeth from excessive clenching. The splint covers the upper and lower jaws and is most often worn at night. When a splint is worn between the upper and lower rows of teeth, the temporomandibular joint is braced in a more stable position. As a result, the TMJ splint reduces the pressure and damaging effects caused by excessive teeth clenching.

Aside from teeth clenching and teeth grinding, TMJ problems can also be caused by an underbite or an overbite which is termed as malocclusion. In this case, when the symptoms do not respond to the preliminary treatments, the orthodontic experts may recommend braces.

Beecroft Orthodontics – Invisalign – 1st Impressions

 

Class One – This is the most common malocclusion where the bite is normal except that the upper teeth slightly overlaps the lower teeth.

Class Two – This form of malocclusion, known as retrognathism (overbite), occurs when the upper jaw and upper teeth severely overlaps the bottom jaw and bottom teeth.

Class Three Malocclusioncalled prognathism (underbite), occurs when the lower jaw noticeably protrudes forward, causing the lower jaw and lower teeth to cover the upper jaw and upper teeth. The length of time it takes to treat jaw misalignment depends on two things:

1) Jaw Growth – In cases such as this, orthodontists recommend a more advanced orthodontic treatment. In some cases, patients have to wait until they are older to be eligible for the right treatment.

2) Individual Correction Needs — Treatment times can vary depending on the amount of work needed to correct the alignment of the jaw.

The TMJ disorder treatment with braces usually takes a few months. During the treatment, the pain that is associated with TMJ problems is minimized.

The Last Resort: TMJ Surgery

Surgery may be advised and is only used when all other treatment options do not help. Remember to get a second or third option from other specialists before undergoing surgery. There are two types of surgery procedures for severe TMJ. The first procedure is similar to orthopedic surgery for arthritic joints. The TMJ is planed down to make it smoother allowing proper motion. The second one is the joint replacement surgery.

Photo credit: orangeacid / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: orangeacid / Foter / CC BY

Candidacy for TMJ Surgery

The list below can be used to indicate candidacy for TMJ surgery:

  1. Conservative treatments fail to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ. If the splint therapy failed on the first try, it should be repeated using a different splint design.
  2. There is a conclusive evidence of a physical or structural problem based on the teen’s complaint. A physical problem can be seen with an MRI, X-rays, or with dye injections into the joint. This may help the orthodontist decide which treatment is best.
  3.  The teen must be suffering so much from TMJ pain that their lifestyle has been negatively affected.  In other words, the teen must be so desperate that his/her only hope is to undergo surgery.

TMJ Hope

With TMJ disorders, teens may suffer from frustration, anxiety, and further stress. Fortunately, there is hope for TMJ sufferers. To discuss about the TMJ treatment options and type of payment plans, ask an orthodontic expert who offer precise and effective solution at Stafford. Contact Beecroft Orthodontics now!

Beecroft Orthodontics – 10472 Georgetown Dr, Fredericksburg, VA22553 Phone: 540 898 2200

Springtime TMJ Problems on Teenage Patients

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