We get to the root cause of TMJ pain and Symptoms and offer effective treatments and lasting relief
We at Longmont Dental take great pride in treating the “whole person.” Dr. Kurt W. Knetchel, DMD, and our team in Longmont, Colorado, get to know all patients, their interests, passions, motivations, habits, preferences, and goals. These and other factors transcend what one typically thinks of when they hear the word “dentist” or “dentistry.” Another nod to how we know and support more than the “teeth and gums,” Dr. Knetchel offers a diverse and unique array of services, procedures, and products. He evaluates and treats patients with chronic headaches, facial pain, earaches, jaw stiffness, and other disruptive (to debilitating) symptoms of TMJ syndrome.
TMJ refers to the Temporomandibular Joint that is on either side of the face and functions like hinges, connecting the jaw to the skull. When the joints are in good working order, they facilitate smooth, painless motions. When the TM joints are stressed in some way, movements become painful. Patients experience a limited range of motion. These and other symptoms (such as those mentioned above) can develop. Over time, episodes of TMJ syndrome can occur with greater frequency and greater severity.
We at Longmont Dental get to the bottom of what is causing your symptoms. Since TMJ is associated with so many different conditions, it is critical to understand the root cause. This is the only way that we can effectively resolve or treat the condition. Due to this approach to TMJ problems, our patients can reduce or eliminate their reliance on pain medications. These medications only provide symptom relief; they don’t actually address the root causes.
Depending on what Dr. Knechtel finds after talking with you and following a thorough evaluation, your treatment may be as straightforward as modifying behaviors or habits— like limiting or forgoing chewing gum and other chewy foods that can stress the jaw joints and interconnected oral structures and tissues. Additionally, we may find that bruxism (chronic teeth grinding) is to blame for your symptoms, as well as damage to the teeth and dental restorations. We may customize an oral appliance to protect your teeth and help ease the pressure placed on your jaws from bruxism. The appliance, or “nightguard,” is typically worn while you sleep, when many patients grind their teeth and clench their jaws.
Other oral appliances may also be recommended, depending on your needs. Some lightweight devices are designed to prevent contact between the back teeth in the upper and lower jaws when patients bite down. When chronic bruxers’ teeth do not touch, the excessive force that is typically placed on the teeth is alleviated.
Our team also enjoys demonstrating and recommending exercises that can strengthen the joints. Some patients may find relaxation techniques beneficial, too, as emotional stress or duress has been implicated in various health problems – including oral issues like bruxism and TMJ syndrome. Imbalances related to poor “bite,” misalignment of the teeth, and even worn-down restorations can contribute to functional TMJ problems. So, orthodontic or dental treatments can make a world of difference by restoring healthy balance and relationships between the teeth and jaws. When all interconnected oral structures and tissues work together in harmony, seamless movement and function are supported.
This is just the tip of the iceberg regarding TMJ symptoms, causes, and treatments. Since treatment is so specific to your oral anatomy, behaviors, and other unique factors, it is critical to schedule a consultation with Dr. Knechtel today. Call Longmont Dental at (720) 815-4733, and get one big step closer to the lasting resolution of TMJ pain.