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TMJ Treatment – Lincoln, NE

When Jaw Pain Becomes Too Much

Woman in pain from untreated T M J disorder

When chronic jaw pain becomes too much to handle, not only do you feel the discomfort in your jaw, but you’ll likely experience frequent headaches, stiffness in your neck and shoulders, and have a hard time eating.  Fortunately, you will be pleased to know that Dr. Ryan Shaffer and Dr. Steven Shaffer offer TMJ treatment in Lincoln, NE to help relieve the pain and improve your oral health. Using safe and effective treatment options, you will notice a dramatic improvement in the way your entire facial structure feels. Contact us today to find out if you could benefit from TMJ Therapy.

Why Choose South Ridge Dental for TMJ Therapy?

How TMJ Disorder Works

Skull model used to explain how T M J disorder works

The temporomandibular joints are the joints that exist on both sides of your jaw and allow it to move freely in all directions. When the nerves and tissue behind these joints become inflamed or are injured or misaligned, it can cause what is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This increased pain can be mild to start but increase in intensity over time. If left untreated, you can begin to experience a decline in your oral function.

The Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

A woman with an intense headache from untreated T M J disorder

Although the symptoms may not be noticeable at first, it is best if you allow Dr. Ryan or Dr. Steven to examine your oral cavity and facial structure. Through a visual exam and digital x-rays at preventive dentistry visits, we can determine if there is a problem with your jaw area. However, if the pain is increasing prior to your appointment, you might be able to tell if what you’re experiencing is TMD. If so, these are some of the symptoms you might have:

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

A person holding an occlusal splint

If our dentists determine it is TMD that you are suffering from, they can begin the process of creating a custom-made oral appliance known as an occlusal splint. Designed to resemble a traditional mouthguard, your splint will be customized to your individual needs.

After a complete examination, we will determine which type of splint is right for you and take impressions of your smile. This will help dental lab technicians to create a custom oral device that comfortably fits your mouth.

Worn at night while you sleep, this will not only keep your teeth from coming into contact with each other, which can be helpful for patients who also suffer from teeth grinding (Bruxism), but it will also keep your jaw relaxed and provide much-needed pain relief. It’s also possible for these devices to help in reducing migraine headaches as well as improve sleeping habits for those individuals with sleep apnea.

There is also another option to treat TMD, which is known as occlusal adjustment. By removing what is called an “interference,” our team can realign your bite and make it possible for your jaw to close in the proper position. These “interferences” can include different types of restorations, including dental crowns, fillings, bridge, and even tooth extractions.

By removing a small portion of the tooth or restoration that creates an interference, you will begin to notice a change in how your teeth align and come together, reducing excessive wear and tear as well as jaw pain in Lincoln.

TMJ Treatment Frequently Asked Questions

question mark icon against red background

Even if you’ve experienced a TMJ disorder for a long time, the term might be unfamiliar to you, as it is for most people who come to see us. As such, you likely have questions, and we’re eager to answer them. To help you get the information you need quickly, we’ve gone ahead and responded to some of the most popular TMJ-related questions below. If there is anything else you’d like to ask ahead of your appointment, be sure to give us a call .

What causes a TMJ disorder (TMD)?

A TMD can stem from a problem in the teeth, the joint itself, or both. A misaligned bite is a common source, as is teeth grinding (also known as bruxism). High levels of stress have been shown to result in a TMD, and one can also develop because of arthritis. This is why getting a proper diagnosis is so important—it allows our team to treat the source rather than just manage the symptoms of a TMD.

What are the risk factors for a TMJ disorder?

If one or more of the following apply to you, it does NOT mean you will definitely develop a TMD, but rather you have a slightly higher risk compared to the rest of the population:

  • Age: TMDs are often experienced by patients who are 40+.
  • Gender: Women tend to develop TMDs more than men.
  • Genetics: Certain growth patterns in the teeth and jaw can preclude a TMD.
  • Injury: An injury to the face and/or jaw can create an imbalance in the bite that leads to a TMD.
  • Sleep Apnea: This condition can cause the jaw muscles to overwork as the body struggles to breathe throughout the night.

Can a TMJ disorder go away on its own?

While this is plausible in theory, it is extremely rare in real life. It’s potentially possible if a patient experiences a jaw injury that is able to fully heal, therefore removing the source of a TMD. In the vast majority of cases, however, professional intervention offers the only way to alter the teeth and jaw in a way that stops the ongoing pain and dysfunction.

Is TMJ therapy covered by dental insurance?

TMJ therapy using occlusal splints and occlusal adjustments is often covered by dental insurance plans, but the amount of coverage can vary quite a bit from policy to policy. Access to benefits can also be affected by the underlying reason a person needs TMJ therapy. If it is necessary to address a dental issue, then dental insurance will usually cover it. However, if it’s mostly intended to help with a sleep problem, then this falls under medical insurance. Our team can go over your plan with you so you have a good idea of how much you’re covered before you commit to any treatment.

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