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Eliminate the Discomfort of TMJ Disorder With Oral Appliances

The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) which connect the jaws to the skull are some of the most frequently used joints in the body. We need them every time we speak, eat, and yawn. Consequently, they are under nearly constant stress. When your TMJs are damaged or undermined, it can have widespread negative effects on your overall health.

Dr. Len Gerken at Oro Valley Smiles understands how uncomfortable and frustrating TMJ disorder can be. He designs personalized TMJ treatment plans at his office in Oro Valley, AZ. Rather than recommending surgery, Dr. Gerken can provide a custom oral appliance that provides relief from the painful symptoms by realigning your jaws, reducing pressure, and protecting your teeth from excessive wear.

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorder. Although each person experiences the effects differently, the most common symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Clicking or popping when opening the mouth
  • Limited mobility or stiffness in jaw
  • Headaches
  • Bite misalignment
  • Ear pain

Many conditions can put you at higher risk of developing the disorder, including stress, grinding your teeth, facial trauma, and a family history of TMJ disorders.

Man rubbing temples
TMJ disorder often triggers a cascade of other problems, from worn teeth to neck pain and headaches.

Your Initial Consultation

Before designing a treatment plan, Dr. Gerken will check the health of your jaws and joints during a dental exam and measure the way your jaws fit together. He will also gather a detailed medical history and overview of your symptoms to determine whether TMJ disorder can be causing your uncomfortable symptoms.

How We Can Help

Because corrective jaw surgery has been associated with unpredictable complications, Dr. Gerken often prefers to explore nonsurgical options first. Minimally-invasive oral appliance therapy, in particular, helps reduce painful symptoms and restore a healthy balance to your life.

To create your appliance, Dr. Gerken will first take detailed impressions of your teeth. From these, skilled technicians can create a customized retainer from smooth, comfortable, and safe plastic material. Most patients will wear their appliance at night to protect their teeth from unconscious grinding during sleep.

Pursuing treatment for TMJ disorder now can save you money in the future and improve your overall quality of life.

If your teeth are already worn or cracked because of TMJ disorder symptoms, Dr. Gerken can also restore function and aesthetics to your damaged smile. We can design custom dental crowns to match the color, texture, and feel of your surrounding teeth.

Do You Really Need Treatment?

As demonstrated in several studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, splint therapy is often an essential part of correcting temporomandibular joint pain. It can:

  • Keep the jaw open
  • Prevent jaw clenching
  • Distribute force from teeth grinding
  • Relax muscles

Wearing an oral appliance not only protects your teeth and jaw, but also makes daily life more comfortable. Furthermore, delaying treatment often allows the problem to become worse: the effects can damage your jaw, teeth, and surrounding tissues. This often requires more expensive, invasive, and extensive treatment in the long-run.

Protect Your Jaw

Pursuing treatment for TMJ disorder now can save you money in the future and improve your overall quality of life. Rather than resorting to corrective surgery, we encourage you to visit our office to find out if you are a good candidate for oral appliance therapy. Call us today at (520) 498-0500 or submit an online contact form to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us

The best dental office. Extremely professional and yet very personal, targeted care. They always make me feel so welcome and stress my dental health is of the utmost importance. Dr. Gerken may be the best dentist in southern Arizona. I recommend him to anyone who has fears or qualms about seeing the dentist. You will be absolutely amazed.

-Alexis C.