TMJ/Bite Splint

Many people who suffer from chronic headaches visit doctor after doctor to try to find help for their pain, only to receive medications that treat the symptoms but not the problem causing their discomfort. In some cases, headache and facial pain is caused by dental problems, including disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). At our Grand Rapids office, serving patients from Grand Rapids and West Michigan, Dr. Stephen Mulder DDS offers TMJ treatment to help patients with chronic head and neck pain, as well as full mouth rehabilitation to restore function and beauty to an entire smile.Dr. Mulder has worked with many patients suffering from TMJ-related symptoms. He has the skills and knowledge necessary to treat this disorder and help our patients live pain free.

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint, also called TMJ, is located in front of the ear and connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. These joints allow us to open and close our mouths and move our jaws from left to right.
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What Is Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorder?

Temporomandibular disorder, also called TMD or TMJ disorder, refers to an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. This inflammation often affects the muscles that control the jaw and can affect occlusion (bite). TMD includes the physical disorders associated with an imbalance in the working relationship of the jaws, skull, and muscles.
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Do I have TMJ Disorder?

The common symptoms associated with TMJ disorder include:

  • Facial pain, or pain around the ears
  • Headaches that often wake you during the night or for which your medical doctor hasn’t found a cause
  • Discomfort, pain, or clicking noises in your jaw joints, located in front of your ears, while chewing or biting
  • A tired feeling in your facial muscles during the day after a lot of speaking or chewing
  • Clenching your teeth either while sleeping or while awake
  • Episodes when you feel that your jaw locks open or shut
  • Pain in multiple teeth for which your dentist hasn’t found a cause
  • Chipped teeth, or excessively worn front teeth

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TMJ Diagnosis

Although the symptoms listed above may be caused by TMJ disorder, it is important to have your condition diagnosed by a dentist who is experienced in TMJ treatment. Dr. Mulder has helped many people suffering from TMJ-related symptoms, and he has special training in TMJ treatment. He can help determine if your jaw, neck, head, or facial pain is associated with a dental issue.At his practice in Grand Rapids, Dr. Mulder will begin your TMJ diagnosis with an evaluation of your jaw bone, bite, and jaw muscles. In some cases, an MRI may be needed to fully evaluate the condition of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).If Dr. Mulder determines that what you’re experiencing is the result of a dental problem, he will create a plan to treat the underlying cause instead of just the symptoms.
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TMJ and Facial Pain Treatment Options

For the dentist, treating TMJ and facial pain is like putting together a puzzle. Some pieces come together quickly while others take longer to figure out. That’s why it’s important to seek TMJ treatment from a well-trained dentist with years of experience in TMJ disorders in order to achieve the best results. TMJ treatment may involve posture training, physical therapy, or relaxation techniques in order to ease the tension in the muscles that control the jaws. Avoiding foods that are sticky or hard, thereby reducing the use of the jaw joints, may also help to lessen TMJ-related symptoms. In other cases, Dr. Mulder may make a customized mouth-guard to wear at night for patients who tend to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. There are also a range of bite guides that help adjust the bite so that the teeth fit together properly, taking stress off of the joints. Dr. Mulder may also treat worn or broken teeth, as they can add to existing problems by preventing the teeth from fitting together properly, causing an unbalanced bite which can put extra stress on the joints. If you believe that your symptoms are caused by TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulder at his Grand Rapids office. He can determine if TMJ treatment or another dental treatment can alleviate your symptoms.
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Full Mouth Rehabilitation

Patients with misaligned bites, or several broken, worn, or damaged teeth may benefit from a full mouth rehabilitation. Through this process, Dr. Mulder is able to achieve a proper bite and an aesthetically pleasing appearance by restoring multiple teeth with dental crowns, dental bridges, dental implants, porcelain veneers, or other restorations. Dr. Mulder will begin by determining the proper position of the jaw and temporomandibular joint to create a balanced bite. He will then develop a treatment plan to restore the damaged teeth and create a harmonious relationship that allows the teeth to fit together properly. Like TMJ treatment, full mouth rehabilitation can often relieve symptoms such as headaches, neck and facial pain, and clenching and grinding, as well as chewing and speaking problems. In addition to correcting functional problems, full mouth rehabilitation can also improve the overall appearance, similar to a smile makeover.
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If you have been suffering from headaches or facial pain, Dr. Mulder can determine if a dental problem is causing your symptoms and will create a treatment plan to help you live pain free.
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Schedule An Appointment

Dr. Stephen Mulder DDS is pleased to provide complete dental care to patients throughout West Michigan and beyond.  Many of his patients move out of state and return to see him despite living outside of Michigan. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 616.447.1700 or complete our online consultation form.

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