TMJ in Las Vegas, NV

A Damaged Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Puts Your Entire Smile At Risk.

Get The TMJ Treatment You Need To Regain A Happy, Health Mouth.

Whenever one speaks, eats, yawns or moves their jaw from one side to the other, the temporomandibular joints spring into action. Located just in front of the ears, the jaw functions as hinges where the lower jaw connects to the skull. When the jaw is working as it should, you'll likely never give them a moment's thought. If you become aware of the jaw joints, something is probably wrong.

If the temporomandibular joint suffers damage from trauma or becomes misaligned from any of a number of causes, symptoms are often quick to follow. The most common include:

  • Clicking, popping &/or grating (crepitant) sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Stiffness or soreness in the jaw or area in front of the ear.
  • Limited ability to open completely, uncomfortable to chew or yawn.
  • Pain in the ears
  • Frequent headaches
  • Inability to chew tough or hard foods
  • An uncomfortable or changing bite (malocclusion)
  • Pathologic tooth wear
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • A tendency for your jaw to lock in an open or closed position.
  • Uncomfortable or even painful to open wide

These are not the only signs of trouble. The temporomandibular joint is the surprising but frequent culprit behind headaches and neck pain. Given the wide range of attendant complaints, it is vital to understand what causes this dysfunction and what, if anything, can be done to correct it.

Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

While any number of things can give rise to trouble with the temporomandibular joint, some are more common than others. The usual causes include:

  • Traumatic injury. According to the American Dental Association, between 44 and 99 percent of TMJ problems are the result of accidents involving whiplash or blows to the head or jaw.
  • Bruxism. This unconscious habit of tooth-grinding occurs most often during sleep, subjecting the temporomandibular joint to excessive pressure that some researchers believe can damage one or more of the joint's three ligaments.
  • Malocclusion. An off-balance dental bite. An off-balanced bite may be due to missing teeth, ill-fitting or worn dentures, incorrectly adjusted restorations (crowns, fillings, etc.), orthodontics or even improper jaw growth and development . Any of a number of causes can stress the jaw-joint integrity and lead to TMJ dysfunction.
  • Tooth clenching. This stress-related habit places excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joint's articular disc and can cause &/or contribute to the dislocation of the condylar disc which results in the stretching of the ligaments that normally hold the disc in its proper place.

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Bite Occlusion

In addition, certain disease conditions can either cause TMJ problems or aggravate those that already exist. Immune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can inflame the joint while measles, mumps and similar viral infections can damage its surface. 

Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Since the various symptoms common to TMJ dysfunction can also result from such unrelated conditions as sinus trouble, gum disease, arthritis or tooth decay, a correct diagnosis is essential. Pinning down the problem will entail a thorough examination of the jaw to determine whether it hurts, generates unusual noises or tends to lock when your mouth is open or closed. During this procedure, you may need to move your jaw in various directions.

In more complex situations, X-rays, radiography, CAT scans, bone scans and MRIs can yield additional information and may also be indicated. Tests like these will reveal any bone malformations, improper disc positioning or similar offenders. 

The Las Vegas office of Dr. James White is proud to offer Doppler ultrasound as a diagnostic tool of choice. Doppler analysis allows us to listen to the sounds your jaw makes in movement. The procedure consists of placing a sensor over the temporomandibular joint to pick up on any irregular noises. While a healthy joint will make no sound, any evidence of cracking or popping will help us not only confirm but also measure the extent of damage in the joint. There is no discomfort involved in this procedure.

Treating Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Once our dental team has revealed the underlying basis of your problem, we can address it with the appropriate treatment. The most effective of these include:

  • Equilibration or bite-plane therapy. To repair any discrepancy or instability in the relationship between your bite and the functioning of your temporomandibular joint, we reshape the biting surfaces of any individual teeth that may be throwing things out of alignment. A proper meeting of the upper and lower jaws will allow the muscles to relax and the joints to seat fully and function correctly.
  • Custom night guards. There are two distinct varieties of night guard, and the one designed for treating TMJ dysfunction functions in a special way. This type, known as a splint, raises the bite and aligns the jaw to relieve TMJ discomfort. However, it requires custom fitting to do the job correctly.
  • Enamel contouring. This process involves the removal of small amounts of enamel from the biting surfaces of selected teeth. This corrects the bite and relieves ongoing stresses on the temporomandibular joint.
  • Dental crowns. A poorly fitting dental crown can cause TMJ dysfunction or exacerbate a case that already exists. Replacing this crown or installing one where needed can throw the mouth back into alignment and alleviate the symptoms.

By positioning the jaw joint in an optimal alignment, these state-of-the-art remedies can ease the muscle tension and alleviate the pain of TMJ disorder. They have helped many a sufferer gain relief. They can help you too. 

Why TMJ Suffers in Las Vegas Rely on Dr. White for Treatment

Las Vegas residents who suffer from temporomandibular joint problems appreciate the advanced and extensive education received by Dr. White concerning all facets of TMJ dysfunction. Attendance at the L.D. Pankey Institute and the Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies have kept him up to date with the latest TMJ treatments, and this specialized training and knowledge serves him well when ministering to patients in his Las Vegas office.

Dr. White knows that when TMJ dysfunction goes untreated, it can cause serious damage to mobility of the head, neck, teeth and jaw while compromising the smile. Seeking treatment from Dr. White for temporomandibular joint dysfunction will do more than simply alleviate your current discomfort. It will also help keep your smile healthy in the years to come. A dentist who knows and understands that a balanced bite relative to the physiologic jaw-joint position, or verified repeatable treatment position, will lead to long-term dental health, reduced tooth wear, jaw-joint comfort also knows and understands what is true oral health.

The earlier that a patient seeks treatment for suspected jaw-joint problems the more likely that person can be helped.

One is not in good health without good oral health.

Take the next step to a better smile

  1. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by calling (702) 562-8833 or Schedule Online.
  2. Download our TMJ Information Packet.

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