TMJ/TMD Treatment, Burbank CA
The temporalmandibular (TMJ) joints are located near the ear, at the top of the lower jaw. These joints allow movement of your jaw.
TMJ disorders are caused by injury, arthritis or habits such as grinding the teeth at night. These disorders may produce some of the following symptoms:
- Clicking or grating noises with jaw movement
- Pain opening or closing the mouth
- Limited movement of the jaw
Not all discomfort of the jaw is the result of a TMJ disorder. In many cases, stress causes the muscles in the jaw to tense, resulting in symptoms similar to those characteristic of a TMJ disorder. Special imaging techniques may be needed to properly diagnose jaw problems and correct them accordingly.
The necessary course of treatment is dependent on the specific diagnosis and severity of the damage to the joint. Oftentimes, a night guard that prevents clenching and grating of the teeth during the night is effective in treating TMJ problems.
Night guards are fashioned to fit your bite by taking an impression of your teeth. This impression is then sent to a lab where your night guard will be constructed.
Traditionally, if you were missing a tooth or if one needed to be extracted, the healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth would be cut down and replaced with a three-unit “bridge.”
Dental implants are the modern alternative. Instead of cutting down two perfectly healthy teeth, Dr. Ho inserts a dental implant into the jawbone to replace your missing tooth root. The implant becomes solidly fixed into your jaw bone (osseointegration).
Single Dental Implant Procedure
Your general dentist then places a crown onto this artificial tooth root that looks, feels, and functions like your natural tooth.
Quite simply, dental implants are the most natural placement for missing teeth.
Replacing Several Missing Teeth
Traditionally, several missing teeth would have been replaced with a removable partial or full denture.
Dentures have to be taken out and soaked at night. During the day, they can also look unnatural and rub painfully. Dentures and partials make it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods.
Dental implants can now be used to anchor partial and full dentures. This prevents the slipping, irritation, and pain associated with “floating” partials and dentures. It also prevents the tedious removal of dentures for overnight soaking and cleaning. Dental implants also eliminate the need for denture adhesives. This allows you to enjoy eating the foods you previously avoided. With dental implants, your partials or dentures are firmly anchored to the jawbone, allowing them to feel much more like natural teeth.
Natural tooth roots and dental implant posts are fixed firmly in your jawbone. When you chew, these tooth roots and posts stimulate the jawbone and prevent it from shrinking. You may have seen a person who looked prematurely old because their jawbone had shrunk after wearing floating dentures. Dental implants help preserve your jawbone and appearance.
The Success Rate of Dental Implants
After their healing period, the success rate of dental implants is between 94% and 98%. If you are a non-smoker with good oral hygiene, the percentage is closer to 98%.
Does the Procedure Hurt?
The discomfort involved with receiving a dental implant is similar to that of having a cavity filled. It is done under local anesthesia and patients generally experience little discomfort after the procedure.
Dental implants become fixed to the jawbone. Though the life span of a dental implant will vary with each patient, many have lasted for over 50 years. With good oral hygiene and regular cleanings, dental implants should last a lifetime. In contrast, the average life span of a traditional fixed bridge is between 10-15 years.
A critical question in determining whether an implant can be placed is, “Is there enough bone to support the implant?” Fortunately, advanced bone regeneration techniques now make it possible to place many more implants than just 10 years ago.
For More Information
The following sites will provide you with more information on dental implants:
- Straumann Implant System
- MissingTeeth.org website for the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness (IDIA).
- Academy of Osseointegration – Frequently Asked Questions
- American Academy of Periodontology Article:
Dental Implants: Teeth That Look and Feel Like Your Own
- American Dental Association – Implants