Do You Clench or Grind Your Teeth?

TMJ Treatment New Orleans

A handsome Caucasian man wearing a light-blue button-up collared shirt leans casually against a white doorway, smiling.Do you wake with a headache or sore jaw? If you do, you may suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder. Also known as TMJ disorder, this common condition occurs when the jaw is misaligned and the temporomandibular joint must overcompensate to achieve balance. Sufferers may experience facial pain, headaches, and other symptoms.

Dr. Raul F. Ramirez offers TMJ treatment at our state-of-the-art New Orleans dental practice. If you are seeking diagnosis, or are interested in learning more about your treatment options, schedule a consultation with us today

What is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorder occurs when the bite is not properly balanced, and the joints must shift into an unnatural position in order to make the jaws meet properly. Over time, this prolonged strain results in agonizing symptoms including: 

  • Pain, soreness, or sensitivity in the jaw, ears or temples
  • Difficulty opening or closing the jaw
  • A clicking or popping sound in the jaw while eating or speaking
  • Tightness in the muscles of the face and neck
  • Worn teeth due to nighttime teeth grinding
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Dr. Ramirez can determine whether you have TMJ disorder during a thorough examination. In addition to a physical review, X-rays will be used to check for signs of internal damage or misalignment. 

Treatment Options

The causes of TMJ disorder are varied. To recommend the best treatment plan for you, Dr. Ramirez will first determine the cause of your symptoms. Physical conditions, including an improperly-aligned bite, can worsen over time and affect the movement of the jaw. In this case, orthodontics may be recommended to correct crooked teeth and realign the jaw. 

Stress is another major contributor to teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. To address clenching and grinding, Dr. Ramirez utilizes proven, trusted methods of treatment. Splints are made of a rigid material, and correct the bite by fitting over the teeth. Once the jaw is repositioned, tension is greatly relieved and symptoms are reduced. Our practice is able to create customized splints in-office, finding your comfort zone before full rehabilitation is employed. Splints are removable, and can be taken out during meals. Typically, splints will be worn for a period of six months before a follow-up assessment is conducted.

Following TMJ treatment, a nighttime mouth guard may be recommended to protect the teeth from wearing. Regular check-ups with Dr. Ramirez can ensure patients' jaws remain properly aligned, and that the condition does not return or worsen.

Schedule a Consultation

Early, aggressive TMJ treatment has an extremely high success rate, and helps our patients avoid more costly dental work in the future. Left untreated, excessive grinding can cause permanent damage to teeth. For advanced stages, Dr. Ramirez offers restorative services to combat the effects of years of grinding, which may include worn, loose, or cracked teeth. 

Our team has years of experience treating TMJ disorder, and we can adeptly treat even the most challenging and complex cases. To learn more during a consultation with Dr. Ramirez, contact our practice today