TMJ and the Dentist ChairMake the Pain Stop
The American Dental Association estimates there are as many as ten million Americans with TMJ disorders.
To the poor TMJer's who brave the Dentist office looking for relief you have my greatest admiration and my deepest sympathies.
When I was very young many moons ago, I lived and went to school in a small town in New Zealand.
On the grounds of most city schools was a small brick-built one or two-chair dental clinic. Young Dental Nurses employed by the Government fresh out of a rigid two-year course attended to the dental health of rosy-cheeked school children up to the age of thirteen.
I have such fond memories of those antiseptic smelling clinics, the nervous nurses and the cheery sound of the drill. Yep I am lying! The bloom went out of cheeks pretty fast I can tell you when I had to visit the Dental Nurse. As much as I didn't like the smell, sound or FEEL of that drill ( I am told it was powered by electricity but in a power outage it could be foot-operated!) I didn't know what I was in for until at the age of thirteen I had to go to the family dentist.
This guy was a close family friend. I figured my parents must have owed him a ton of money or run over his dog and having me in his chair was his chance at retribution. I think he used saline in the needles. His drill had these mammoth drill bits and he liked to run the drill really slowly.
I thought the juttering vibrations would cause me and the chair to crash through to the first floor. Hey, maybe that is where my headaches and TMJ started; from this heavy handed Dr of Misery. I feared this man and his evil equipment and on my visits to him I would deal with the pain by citing a poem over and over again in my head.
Well that was then and this is now. I love modern dentistry, sort of. Well it has improved tremendously with all the great new anesthetics and supersonic what-nots and I think the College of Dental Surgeons screen now for maniacal masochists. Yes, Dentistry has definitely come a long way.
So my TMJers what can it do for you?
Mouth SplintDon't talk with your mouth full.
Dentists like splints because they are the most popular non-surgical means to treat TMJ pain in the jaw. The Occlusal splint is a removable dental appliance made from either hard acrylic resin or a soft resilient plastic. It is possible to buy a generic mouth slpint for your TMJ over the counter at some stores but it is alway wise to seek advise from a TMJ specialist first.
There are several distinct types of Occlusal splints.
Stabilization or flat plane splint. Designed to reduce teeth grinding and relax jaw muscles it fits over all the upper teeth.
Modified Hawley splint. This splint fits on the upper jaw and makes contact with only the six lower front teeth. Only worn at night it keeps the teeth from grinding and clenching.
NTI-tss (Nociceptive Trigeminal Tension Inhibition Suppression System. (Try saying that while you are wearing one.) It doesn't sound like it but it is small and fits on the front upper teeth and is designed to prevent tooth clenching and grinding. However, because it fits on only a few teeth, it places a great deal of stress on them and that can be harmful to those teeth. There is also a danger of this small device being swallowed if it comes off at night.
Repositioning splint. A more invasive form of splint treatment this device is used to move the lower jaw either forward or backward into a new position permanently.
Questions you should ask your Dentist about splints.
- Why are you recommending this type of splint to me?
- Are you recommending this splint to decrease my pain, reposition my bite or both?
- What are my other options?
- What happens if my pain gets worse while wearing the splint?
- What happens if I develop an open bite (teeth no longer touch)?
- What proof do you have that this splint will help?
- Do I wear the splint during the day, night, or both?
- How long do I have to wear the splint before I feel significant improvement?
- If the splint doesn't help, what's next ?
- Will follow-up treatments be required, how many and how much each visit cost?
- Will insurance cover the cost of the splint and the follow-up treatments?
- Must I sign a financial contract with you to begin treatment?
After the Splint what are the Options?
Since many splints can change the bite and the teeth-jaw relationship, it is advised that patients exercise caution when beginning treatment, and seek a second (or third) independent opinion before consenting to irreversible treatments like these.
Splints may only work for a short term period and may even change your bite. If a splint fails to work, your dentist may recommend options for re-alignment of your teeth.
If simple techniques fail, more invasive treatment can be considered.
This could be Orthodontics or veneers, crowns and bridges. Perhaps even reshaping (grinding) of the teeth.
- Please note that these treatments are IRREVERSIBLE (so they are permanent even if they do not work).
Surgery is considered a last resort by most TMJ experts.
Most TMJ Sufferers will Not Require any Dental Procedure to get freedom from TMJ Pain. So spit out that Mouth Guard and Click Here to Try a Natural, Holistic 3 Step Remedy for TMJ Cure.