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At Parkway Dental in Albuquerque, NM, Dr. Michael Haight offers NTI devices to provide relief from the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, or TMD. Patients suffering from TMD know just how painful symptoms can be and how they can detract from your everyday life. TMJ treatment begins working immediately, so patients notice significant improvement in symptoms right away.
Your TMJs are situated just in front of the ears and serve as the hinge for the lower jaw. Even a slight misalignment in these joints can cause major distress and pain. The muscles and nerves that support these joints become fatigued and inflamed, tension and strain can spread to other parts of the body, and teeth and jawbones can become permanently damaged.
There are a number of potential causes of TMD. Injury and dislocation are commonly connected with TMJ disorders, as are teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching your teeth. Chronic stress may contribute to clenching and grinding, which can worsen TMD symptoms. Arthritis may also lead to TMD.
Symptoms can vary, but often include:
For many patients, the symptoms of TMD are not only painful but also interrupt their daily lives.
At Parkway Dental, our doctors have the necessary tools to both diagnose and treat TMD. While relieving painful symptoms is important, we must also address the underlying cause. When you come in for an appointment, you will meet with Dr. Haight or Dr. Case. They will examine your jaw, head, and neck while discussing your symptoms with you. If needed, we may take x-rays or a 3-D image to get a better picture of your jaw.
Treatment may depend, in part, on the cause. If you have arthritis, for example, you will need treatment both for your TMD and arthritis. If chronic stress has led you to grind or clench your teeth at night, we may suggest some stress-reduction techniques.
In addition to treating the underlying cause, we use NTI devices, sometimes referred to as a "de-programmer" to treat TMD. Unlike traditional mouth guards, NTI devices are smaller and more comfortable. The device can fit over your upper or lower teeth, depending on your individual needs and will typically be worn while you sleep. The advanced design reduces the intensity of clenching and grinding significantly, thus relieving pressure on the TMJ. In some cases, the NTI is enough to help our patients. Sometimes it is necessary to move patients from the de-programmer into another appliance called a MAGO.
With nightly wear, most patients see a significant improvement in symptoms within just a few days.
If more intensive treatment is required, we can take impressions of your teeth. A lab will use these impressions to craft a custom MAGO to address your TMD. Once it is ready, you will return for a final fitting, after which you can begin wearing it. With nightly wear, most patients see a significant improvement in symptoms within just a few days.
If you are suffering from painful TMD symptoms, contact Parkway Dental online or call us at (505) 298-7479 to schedule an appointment. Our highly experienced doctors can provide the non-invasive, effective treatment you need to restore your oral health and comfort.