Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is an umbrella term that describes a number of complex problems that can affect the jaws, jaw muscles, jaw joint (TMJ), and nerves in the head and neck. Management of these disorders can be difficult; however, the first step is determining an accurate diagnosis of the problem. The diagnosis process begins with a specialized examination conducted by your dentist where we review your medical history, the history and progression of your problem, as well as a clinical examination of the head and neck. Based on the diagnosis, a TMJ treatment plan will be formulated to address the specific problem. As we know, “all people are different” and a TMJ therapy that works for one person does not necessarily work for another. It is our job to take you through the process of what works best and how we best rid you of your pain.
There are a number of different oral appliances that have been designed to aid in the TMJ treatment of TMD. The most common appliance utilized is the “bite guard”. A “bite guard” or “occlusal guard” has many functions: it can be used to protect the teeth against clenching/grinding and can also be modified to decrease the biting forces applied to either the jaw joint (TMJ) or the jaw muscles. The particular type of oral appliance that will work for you depends on the origin of the pain determined in a clinical examination.