Treating TMJ Disorder with an Oral Appliance By fairfaxfamilydentalcare on April 01, 2023

clear oral applianceTemporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) can come with painful symptoms that impact your everyday life. Oral appliance therapy can give your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) the relief they need. Unlike a store-bought mouth guard, the oral appliances made at our Fairfax, VA, dental office are custom made to provide you with a perfect fit. Treating TMJ disorder is easier than ever thanks to oral appliances. 

What’s Causing Your TMJ Disorder?

Your oral appliance is customized to address the unique concerns that are causing your TMD, including:

  • Bruxism – Bruxism disorder involves unconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth when awake or asleep. This disorder can cause wear and tear on your teeth and on the cartilage around your TMJs. 
  • Arthritis – If your TMD is caused by arthritis, an oral appliance may help ease symptoms, but will need to be monitored by the doctor to determine your optimal treatment plan. 
  • Misalignment – An overbite, underbite, crossbite, or other improper bite can cause you to place excess pressure on your TMJs and increase muscle strain in and around the face.  
  • Trauma – Trauma from an injury can result in the disc located between the ball and socket joint to become dislocated. This can cause wear and tear to the cartilage surrounding the jaw joint, the surrounding tissues and ligaments, and the jaw joint itself.  

Types of Oral Appliances

The oral appliance that’s right for you largely depends on what’s causing your TMD and how the oral appliance can help reduce those problems. Various types of oral appliances exist for TMD patients, some of which include:

  • Night Guards – If you grind or clench your teeth at night, you’ll often wake up with a headache, soreness in the jaw, and other symptoms indicating you have sleeping bruxism. If so, our dentists can create a custom night guard that adds a protective layer of cushion between your teeth to reduce wear and tear on enamel and stress on the TMJs.
  • Bite Splints – If your TMJ disorder is caused by bite misalignment, a bite splint is a non-invasive, non-surgical method to slowly guide your bite into the proper position. Once your bite is aligned, you’ll find less strain is put on your TMJs. 
  • Daytime Appliances – Similar to a night guard, a daytime oral appliance can provide a cushion between your teeth if you have bruxism. Often, daytime bruxism occurs during moments of concentration or stress, such as when doing work. 

Why Choose a Custom Oral Appliance?

The dentists at our Fairfax office craft customized oral appliances that are the perfect fit for your mouth. Custom oral appliances can have many benefits over store-bought mouthguards, including:

  • Made for your concerns – An oral appliance bought at the store cannot properly address the unique concerns causing your TMD, such as bite misalignment. 
  • Made for your comfort – An oral appliance custom made at our office fits perfectly in your mouth, allowing for ultimate comfort. 
  • Covered by insurance – In some cases, your custom oral appliance can be covered by insurance since it’s a medical necessity, but a store-bought oral appliance cannot. 

Oral appliances are a non-invasive, low-risk way to improve your TMJ functioning and decrease stress put upon them. To learn more about the process of creating a custom oral appliance and start your journey to pain-free jaw health, request a consultation to see our Fairfax dental team. Call us at (703) 385-0303 or visit our website to request a consultation.

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Fairfax Family Dental Care

Our team of compassionate dental professionals uses state-of-the-art technology for every procedure we offer. As the premier emergency dentists in Fairfax, we are here to offer relief at any time of day or night, seven days a week. Our dentists are affiliated with professional associations including:

  • American Dental Association
  • American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • Virginia Dental Association

To schedule an appointment or receive immediate dental care, call: (703) 385-0303 or contact us online.

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