A general dentist is usually the primary care dental provider. This dentist diagnoses, treats, and manages overall oral health care needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and preventive education.
Patients can expect a thorough and comprehensive oral examination, as well as radiographic exam (with X-Ray). The focus will be on the patientÕs occlusion (bite). The doctor will take jaw measurements, palpate and note jaw sounds. The extent of the exam will be based on the dentist’s experience and training with treating TMJ.
Since the teeth, jaw joints, and muscles can all be involved, treatment for this condition varies. Typically, treatment will involve several phases. The first goal is to relieve the muscle spasm and pain. Then, your dentist must correct the way the teeth fit together. Often a temporary device (known as an orthotic, or “splint”) is worn over the teeth until the bite is stabilized.
Permanent correction may involve selective re-shaping of the teeth, building crowns on the teeth, orthodontics, or a permanent appliance to lie over the teeth. If the jaw joint itself is damaged, it must be specifically treated. Though infrequent, surgery is sometimes required to correct a damaged joint. Ultimately, your dentist will stabilize your bite so that the teeth, muscles, and joints all work together without strain. The important aim of correcting your bite is to insure optimal long-term health.
Occlusal Correction: Sometimes it is necessary to improve the way your teeth fit together. This can be accomplished in different ways. Grinding down certain teeth so others can touch is one method.
Bite Reconstruction is accomplished through extensive dental work like crowns, bridges and, if indicated, implants. This is done to replace missing teeth or to change the size and shape of the teeth so they fit and function together in a more harmonious manner with the jaw joints and muscles.
Results and Research
“Patients should be warned regarding risk of loss of vitality with fixed restorations.” — Risk management in clinical practice. Part 3. Crowns and bridges.
“The damage to tooth tissue when providing crowns is considerable and should be weighed against the benefits.” — Crowns and extra-coronal restorations: Considerations when planning treatment