If you suffer with TMD, Migraines or Jaw Pain, and have been diagnosed with a misalignment of your jaw that’s causing your symptoms, there are many treatment approaches that can prove useful in providing relief. The primary goal of TMD treatment is to properly align the jaw so that your jaw, nerves, and surrounding muscles are in proper position. The first phase of TMD treatment often relies on an appliance, known as an orthotic, in order to provide relief of symptoms and establish ideal bite position, as well as align your jaw and teeth to proper balance. An orthotic is a specifically made appliance that is custom-made specifically for your unique condition.
What is an Orthotic?
Most patients suffering with TMD and looking for solutions and treatment wear an orthotic appliance made to the neuromuscular bite position. Unlike a “night guard”, the orthotic has a fully shaped biting surface with a clearly defined biting position.
There are two types of orthotic: a Removable Orthotic, and a Fixed Orthotic.
removable orthotic offers instant relief of pain and bite stabilization. Most patients who get this appliance feel better almost immediately. The appliance should be worn as much as possible in order to allow your muscles and nerves to relax and heal prior to moving forward with Phase 2 of your therapy.
Since a removable orthotic is made from hard acrylic, it can be used for a long time before moving forward with phase 2.
The fixed orthotic is not removed and looks like your own teeth. It does, however, require weekly adjustments until a stable bite is achieved. Each
visit creates a better muscular balance in the orthotic position and most patients find that their symptoms continue to improve as their muscular relaxation increases.
Most patients find comfort and relief of symptoms during the Phase 1 orthotic therapy. Fixed (or bonded) orthotic can chip and wear within a few
weeks so neuromuscular therapy seeks to create a long-term solution to pain problems by creating a stable bite and then transitioning into a permanent solution of restorations as soon as possible. This can include a variety of treatment options including onlays, crowns, adjustments, and other dental treatments in order to establish a stable bite in the neuromuscular position.
Phase 2: Permanent Solution
Permanent treatment depends on many factors and is custom-fitted for each patient and each situation. Treatment options can vary widely and include adjustments, orthodontics, night-guards or other appliances, as well as onlays, crowns, and many other ways to maintain and hold the proper jaw alignment once you are pain-free and stable. Your treatment will depend on your own unique situation and the severity of your jaw misalignment.