Once we have determined that a bad bite is causing your TMD or other problems with your teeth or jaw joint, we can use a number of procedures to stabilize your bite and allow your chewing muscles to stay in their most comfortable, relaxed position. Treatment often follows two phases.
The first phase of treatment is aimed at relieving pain and stabilizing the bite with a custom-crafted, temporary orthotic. The orthotic is a splint that corrects the relationship of biting surfaces of the upper and lower teeth, and gently repositions the jaw. The device can be a removable orthotic, or it may be one that we bond to the teeth during the first phase of treatment.
You’ll wear the orthotic for several months until your jaw joint heals and the chewing muscles get into the habit of resting, chewing, and swallowing in their most healthy and relaxed position. During this phase, we’ll give you instructions on using the orthotic, check on your progress, and periodically adjust the orthotic as necessary.
Depending on your situation, phase two can consist of several more permanent treatments, such as wearing a durable orthotic long-term, replacing missing teeth, moving teeth with orthodontic work, and placing crowns or veneers.
Some patients wear an orthotic as a long-term solution. It may need to be replaced with a new orthotic as the previous device wears out.
Other patients choose a more permanent solution. If teeth are missing, we may recommend replacing them with implants or bridges. And sometimes orthodontic treatment may be the best solution. Braces will move teeth so that they can support the healthy and comfortable jaw and muscle function. In other cases, placing crowns or veneers on all or most of the teeth is the best choice. This will correct the shapes of the biting surfaces, as well as the relationship between the upper and lower teeth. And sometimes we may use a combination of these methods to give you back a healthy, comfortable, and natural-looking smile.