The complexity of the TMJ lends itself to many different types of treatment. The importance of a clear and concise diagnosis cannot be overstated. If you suffer from long term symptoms, taking pain relievers is not the answer. A qualified clinician needs to determine exactly what is causing the dysfunction so that the proper treatment can be prescribed.
The term occlusal refers to the biting surfaces of the teeth. There is a myriad of occlusal appliances that are used to treat TMJ disorders. These appliances are usually made of clear acrylic and they alter the way the teeth fit together and how the jaw is positioned. This type of treatment is widely used because it is reversible.
Occlusal Adjustment or Equilibration
If it is determined that your bite is causing your TMJ symptoms, an occlusal adjustment may be necessary. The biting surfaces of the teeth are recontoured to fit and function without stressing the TMJs. The clinician will take impressions of your teeth and use instruments that mimic the movements of your jaw so they can determine if occlusal adjustment is right for you.
Many websites have written about the negative effects of occlusal adjustments. Because this treatment has been performed by many unqualified clinicians, the negative reports can be true. Finding a qualified clinician is of utmost importance when having an occlusal adjustment or equilibration performed on your teeth.
If the position and fit of your teeth are causing TMJ symptoms, you may need orthodontics. This therapy of often prescribed when the clinician recognizes that the teeth are not fitting together properly but an occlusal adjustment cannot be performed.
Surgery is used to treat only the very worst cases of TMJ disorders. There are very few qualified surgeons that can diagnose and perform surgery on the TMJ. In cases that have a bone or disk derangement that has degraded the joint to a point that the patient cannot function, surgery may be the only option. The types of surgery vary from scoping to complete joint replacement.
A well qualified TMJ clinician can refer you to a good surgeon.