Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists Treatments


Orthodontic TMJ treatment in Atlanta

Jaw showing TMJ

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the short name for disorders of the temporomandibular joint, which joins the skull to the jaw. TMJ causes pain in the jaw joint as well as a host of other symptoms.

Aching, clicking jaw making it hard to eat and sleep comfortably? You may have TMJ – a common condition that affects as many as 10 million Americans. At Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists, we offer several different treatments for TMJ that help reduce pain, realign the jaw, and protect the delicate functioning of the temporomandibular joint.

Symptoms of TMJ

Originating in the joint where the skull attaches to the jaw, TMJ can cause a long list of symptoms in addition to jaw pain. People with TMJ often suffer with associated problems such as:

  • Pain and tenderness of the jaw
  • Pain and tenderness in one or both temporomandibular joints
  • Aching pain around the ear
  • Locking of the jaw joint that makes it difficult or impossible to open the mouth
  • Uneven movement of the jaw
  • Clicking or grinding sensation when chewing
  • Difficulty sleeping because of jaw discomfort
  • A clicking sound when chewing
tootth ache tender jaw

Causes of TMJ

Cartilage in the temporomandibular joint keeps the hinge-and-slide action of the joint moving smoothly. A disc in between the bones of the joint acts as a shock absorber to also assist with movement. When that cartilage or disc becomes damaged or inflamed, TMJ symptoms can  result.

Common causes of TMJ include: 

  • Erosion of the shock-absorbing disc
  • The disc moves out of alignment
  • The cartilage is damaged by arthritis
  • The joint is damaged by impact or trauma
  • Chronic grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Connective tissues disorders that damage tissues in the joint
TMJ causes

Orthodontic treatments for TMJ

Occlusal Guards – Sometimes called bite guards or night guards, occlusal guards are thin, custom-shaped guards that you can wear either on your top or bottom teeth. An occlusal guard protects your teeth from clenching and grinding by providing a shock absorber between the upper and lower teeth. This shock absorbing treatment reduces the pressure put on the jaw when clenching and grinding and therefore can reduce TMJ symptoms.

Splints – A splint is similar to a guard, but it is worn all the time. An orthodontic splint is designed to fit either on the upper or lower teeth. A splint’s job is to stabilize the teeth or jaw to alleviate discomfort.

Braces – Many times, TMJ is caused by misalignment of the teeth or bite. For this reason, braces are considered one of the most effective treatments for TMJ.

Multi-disciplinary treatment – TMJ issues can be complex, and our oral surgeons work with our orthodontists to create custom TMJ treatment plans for our patients. In addition to the TMJ treatments listed above, we may also include therapies such as muscle relaxants and physical therapy to help our patients reduce the pain of TMJ, preserve their teeth, and restore healthy function of the jaw.

Looking for TMJ relief?

Our expert orthodontists and oral surgeons work with patients of all ages to receive the pain of TMJ and prevent future TMJ-related issues.  Contact us today to schedule your appointment.