Good dental health is not only about keeping the smile free from gum disease and cavities. It is also connected to the chewing muscles and joints of the entire head. Keeping them in proper working order is vital to good overall health and wellness. Dentists who offer solutions for neuromuscular dentistry, such as the team at Downtown Dental in Los Angeles, CA, provide the best possible care along with general, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatments for new and current patients. Our dentists help patients address problems with the jaw joint and surrounding muscles known as the TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint.
When properly aligned, this joint is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. However, there are times when the bone or muscle (or both) are damaged or misaligned which becomes problematic. When this happens, patients may notice a variety of symptoms which may result in a diagnosis of TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, a chronic problem. When the temporomandibular joint malfunctions, it can result in a series of symptoms including:
Patients presented with these problems need to book an appointment with Dr. Mungcal and our associate doctors of Downtown Dental for a full assessment and evaluation. Once a definitive diagnosis of TMD has been made, patients can then work with our providers to learn more about effective treatment options available to them.
Currently, the best way to treat TMD is start by realigning your teeth. When the teeth are out of alignment, our jaw muscles subconsciously begin to grind in an effort to create alignment. The trouble is that the act of grinding carries so much force that teeth can begin to chip, crack or even worse – break all the way to the gumline. The solution is then to realign the teeth. Once we do so, the muscles of the head and neck can relax which will bring much needed relief.
Using clear plastic aligners like Invisalign we can slowly and precisely realign teeth so that they bite properly. This treatment of course has the “side effect” of creating beautiful straight teeth, however, the real focus is on the relief from TMD.
In some cases, we recommend the use of oral appliances to address TMD. Our oral appliances are custom-made for the patient and will help in realigning the jaw and reducing the symptoms of the condition dramatically. Realignment using an oral appliance at night significantly addresses the problems patients have with their TMJ and improves their overall quality of life. It can also eliminate the need for over-the-counter pain medications which are commonly used to address the discomfort caused by chronic TMD. However, these solutions are just band-aids – short-term solutions. The real answer lies in Invisalign as the most long-term and effective solution.
If you reside in or around the community of Los Angeles, CA and want to speak to a team of professionals about your condition and effective treatment, contact our practice today! We are located at 255 South Grand Avenue in Suite 204 and can be reached by calling 213-863-9464. Call us to book an appointment or use our convenient online appointment system on our website to get started with a proper diagnosis and effective treatment for TMD.
Dr. Don Mungcal
Dr. Tara Mavadat
Dr. Ivan Chan