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Blog | Dr. Derek Fika Family Dentistry

What is TMD?

When seeking a healthy and beautiful smile, one’s ability to smile is important piece of reaching that goal. But if there is discomfort in the act of smiling, the effect is unhappiness. Severe pain and discomfort within the face and jaw is known as TMD or temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
While there is no single cause of TMD, there are many factors that contribute to the development of the condition, ranging from bite and teeth misalignment to autoimmune conditions and dental infections. Often, TMD manifests as a series of oral or dental symptoms, including: 

Severe muscular pain and discomfort
Limited jaw movement or locked jaw
Swelling of the jaw and face 
Tenderness in the face, jaw joint, neck, and shoulders

Alleviating TMD with Oral Splints

One of the more common treatment options for patients with TMD is through the use of oral device, known as splints. Similar in size and shape to an orthodontic retainers, splints are used to stabilize or reposition the jaw into a neutral position, alleviating the discomfort caused by TMD symptoms. There are two types of jaw splints: 

Stabilization Splints – These oral devices are used to alleviate tension and tightness around the jaw by allowing the muscles, ligaments, and joints to relax. As stabilization splints act as a barrier between the arches, they prevent patients from clenching or grinding their teeth overnight. 

Repositioning Splints – Also known as MORA, or mandibular repositioning appliances, this oral device gently pulls the jaw forward, gradually changing the position of the mandible into a more comfortable placement. Unlike stabilization splints which are worn nightly, MORAs are worn 24 hours a day to ensure the best results. 

Treating TMD with Botox

In addition to treating wrinkles and fine lines, Botox can also be used therapeutically to alleviate the symptoms of TMD. During this form of TMD care, Botox is injected into the chewing muscles of the jaw, allowing them to relax. This prevent the painful muscular spasms many patients with TMD may experience. At our Edmonton dental practice, Dr. Derek Fika provides this alternative treatment to patients with TMD or to aesthetically enhance your smile. 

Dr. Derek Fika Family Dentistry is determined to provide a variety of solutions to fit our patient’s needs. Contact our Edmonton dentist today for more information about treating TMD with oral appliances or Botox. 

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