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A dentist doesn’t “just” treat the teeth and gums. Dental practitioners, like our specialists, prosthodontist Dr. Frank Vidjak and endodontist Dr. Fanny Yacaman, are also on the front lines of diagnosing the root cause of concerns ranging from earaches to migraines. Accurate diagnostics are at the heart of successful and prompt resolution of these debilitating symptoms and the conditions that cause them.
In fact, chronic headaches and earaches are just the tip of the iceberg for ailments associated with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Our prosthodontist, Dr. Vidjak, has extensive training and experience restoring oral and maxillofacial tissues and structures back to health. The TM joints on either side of our skulls can become “disordered” due to several conditions, including misalignment and bite problems, arthritis and degenerative diseases, and traumatic jaw or disc injuries. Even certain behaviors and habits, such as chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) and gum chewing, can “stress” the joints and interconnected muscles and tissues.
When these tissues and structures are “stressed,” patients may experience the following signs, including:
The severity and frequency of symptoms can evolve and worsen over time. Since there are so many different potential sources of TMJDs, relief from the pain and other conditions can be as simple as exercises or relaxation techniques to strengthen the jaw muscles or ease the pressure placed on the jaws and joints. Additionally, an entire category of “oral appliance therapy” exists to treat the causes of TMJ troubles quickly and efficiently.
Custom night guards can protect the teeth from damage and cushion the blow caused by chronic teeth grinding. Specialized devices may also prevent the back teeth from touching when bruxers bite down. In doing so, the full force from the act of teeth grinding and jaw clenching is minimized or eliminated. With such pressure or force alleviated, patients experience improvements in the duration and severity of symptoms such as chronic headaches.
Our specialists may also recommend orthodontic treatments or repairing or replacing old or worn restorations to support a healthy, balanced bite. The options are as seemingly endless as the sources of TMJ trauma. Call us today at (310) 861-3955 to get on the path to better health and wellbeing with focused, tailored solutions designed to conservatively, precisely, and efficiently restore healthy and comfortable functions.