TMD & Orofacial Pain Greeley, CO

Greeley dentist Dr. Jacob Dunham has helped a large number of our patients live happier, healthier lives as a result of successful TMJ treatment. A personalized approach to care, tailored to each patient’s lifestyle, has relieved many patients of oral pain and related health problems. Dr. Dunham’s TMJ treatment plans are a part of the restorative dentistry services we provide to patients in our Greeley, CO office.

Dr. Dunham has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of bite-related disorders such as TMJ. To successfully treat TMJ disorder Dr. Dunham first focuses on educating the patient, placing an emphasis on the importance of addressing the causes of the condition. By focusing on the underlying causes, rather than treating only the symptoms of TMJ disorder, Dr. Dunham is able to achieve lasting, comfortable outcomes and improve overall dental health.

Dr. Dunham incorporates some of the latest technology to provide a more accurate diagnosis, including Doppler technology to determine the amount of friction in the TMJ.

Jaw Pain Treatment Options in Greeley, CO

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull, so most symptoms originate in the lower portion of the face. The mouth, neck, head, and shoulders can also experience tightness, soreness, and pain. In a healthy patient, the jaw opens smoothly with no resistance or pain. This type of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) develops when a disk in the joint erodes or becomes misaligned, and results in jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism.

Common Causes of TMJ Disorder

There is no single cause for TMJ dysfunction. Any number of factors or combination of factors may be to blame including:

  • Trauma to the head, neck, or face
  • Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
  • Stress

Common Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

  • Soreness or tightness in the jaw or facial muscles, particularly after waking
  • Popping or clicking during chewing and speaking
  • Ringing in the ears, or earaches
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Occasional locking of the jaw or difficulty opening the mouth
  • Pain in the jaw, cheeks, neck, or teeth
  • Periodontal (gum) issues

Left untreated, TMJ disorder can result in chronic pain, tooth loss, and other serious health conditions.

TMJ Treatment Options

Dr. Dunham exercises a conservative approach to treating TMJ disorder and seeks to diagnose and address the underlying cause for long-term results. A custom-fitted splint or night guard can help relax the jaw as you sleep, although the ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution that does not require an oral appliance.

Some patients may benefit from orthodontic treatment to bring the teeth into proper alignment. Dr. Dunham may also recommend dental crowns, tooth bonding, or other restorative dental treatments. When the teeth are properly aligned, they no longer stress the TMJ.

In some cases, a problem with the joint itself is the cause of the disorder. In this case, Dr. Dunham may recommend more aggressive therapies or surgical options.

To gain a better understanding of your jawbone’s needs, Dr. Dunham may utilize our Cone Beam CT scans. This piece of x-ray equipment produces three-dimensional images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways and jawbone in a single scan. Cone Beam CT’s provide a fast, non-invasive method of maintaining the necessary images to come up with appropriate treatment plans for complex dental concerns like TMJ disorders.