Braces for TMJ Disorder
By Kellyn Hodges on May 26, 2013
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, disorder affects millions of Americans, producing symptoms ranging from popping and clicking of the jaw to chronic neck, shoulder, and head pain. The temporomandibular joints are located in front of either ear and are responsible for the proper functioning of the jaw. When these joints become inflamed or do not work as they’re supposed to, the results can be excruciating.
There is no single cause for TMJ disorder; however, one of the possible causes is an improper bite. Misaligned teeth can compromise the integrity of the bite, leading to the dysfunction of the TMJs. In such cases, it may be possible to relieve TMJ pain by restoring the bite through orthodontic treatment.
Philadelphia orthodontist Kellyn W. Hodges provides a variety of orthodontic treatments for a variety of orthodontic problems. When a patient suffers from TMJ pain, she can evaluate the mouth and jaw to determine whether orthodontic treatment could benefit the patient. If so, she can prescribe a treatment plan in which braces are used to bring the teeth into proper alignment and restore strength to the bite. While orthodontic treatment may not resolve all of a patient’s TMJ issues, it could lessen the severity of the symptoms. It could also help to identify other possible causes of the disorder and point the way toward effective therapies.
At Dr. Hodges’ practice in Philadelphia, braces, TMJ disorder, and other related issues can all be discussed in detail during a confidential, one-on-one consultation with Dr. Hodges. Patients who are suffering from TMJ disorder and would like to discover whether braces could help relieve its symptoms can contact Dr. Hodges’ Philadelphia orthodontics practice today.
The Relationship between the Bite and the TMJs
In a perfectly functioning mouth, the teeth of the upper and lower jaw meet in such a way that the cusps complement each other and there is no strain placed on either jaw. The teeth are straight, not separated by gaps, and neither too long nor too short. This ideal bite makes chewing efficient and spares the jaws from being overworked.
Unfortunately, most people do not have perfect bites. The more dysfunctional the bite, the harder the jaws have to work to perform basic functions such as chewing. This in turn puts strain on the TMJs, which can result in TMJ disorder.
At Dr. Hodges’ practice in Philadelphia, braces can be used to guide the teeth toward their proper alignment. In many cases, orthodontic treatment by itself can optimize the bite. If a dysfunctional bite is the primary cause of the TMJ pain, then orthodontic treatment could have a profound effect in relieving symptoms. Even if the dysfunctional bite is only one of several contributing causes, orthodontic treatment can help to solve one piece of a complex puzzle and move the patient in the right direction, toward a more comfortable existence.
There is only one way to determine whether an improper bite is contributing to TMJ pain, and that is by having the mouth and jaw evaluated by an experienced orthodontist such as Dr. Kellyn W. Hodges. To schedule an initial appointment with Dr. Hodges, please contact her Philadelphia orthodontics office today.