Exceptional Dentistry is pleased to offer dental orthotics for patients who struggle with a misaligned bite, TMJ disorder or bruxism (teeth grinding). Our skilled dentist, Dr. James Powell, can provide you with a comfortable, custom-made orthotic to improve and preserve your smile so that you can eat, speak and live free of discomfort. Please feel free to contact us at (661) 349-7725 if you would like to learn more about receiving a dental orthotic in Palmdale, California.
WHAT IS A DENTAL ORTHOTIC
A dental orthotic is a removable dental appliance that you wear to relieve the symptoms of TMD, such as:
- Chronic jaw pain, jaw soreness, jaw stiffness or tired jaws
- Chronic facial pain and earaches
- Jaw locking (e.g. the jaw gets stuck)
- Frequent tension headaches and migraines
- Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching)
- Excessive tooth wear (leading to chipped, flattened, cracked or very worn teeth)
- Joint pain related to arthritis of the jaw
- Increased tooth sensitivity
Those symptoms occur when your bite is out of balance, leading your muscles to clench and grind your teeth while trying to find the optimal resting position.
An orthotic is used to treat the cause of an imbalanced bite. It is measured in four dimensions using computerized instruments and represents where the teeth should be positioned in order to be in balance with the muscles.
In other words, it actually stops you from grinding or clenching your teeth while you wear the device and allows your jaw muscles to relax.
Because of this, the muscles are no longer strained and many TMD symptoms, which manifest in the variety of ways we previously mentioned, can be relieved.
If you have been suffering with pain, or suspect that you grind or clench your teeth, then call us today so we can help you!
When do you wear an orthotic?
You must wear it all the time, even while eating. Removing it at other times would be like taking a cast off a broken arm and still expecting it to heal.
What does an orthotic look like?
Dental orthotics look similar to clear retainers or even occlusal guards. They can be removable or semi-permanent (meaning that they are fixed to the teeth to be removed later). Sometimes they are even made to look like teeth when your natural teeth are too short due to teeth grinding, closing the gap between the upper and lower teeth.
What’s the difference between an orthotic and an occlusal guard?
Occlusal guards are used to slow done tooth wear and only protect the teeth while wearing it. They are used for people who are grinding their teeth to help prevent more damage from occurring — but they do not treat the cause.
You will continue to grind or clench when wearing one of these devices, so they do not help relieve TMD symptoms.
How long do you wear an orthotic for?
A dental orthotic, when used properly, is really the first phase in finding permanent relief from TMD and preventing further damage to your teeth. The orthotic is used to see if your symptoms can be alleviated. If so, then you would want to get the teeth into the same position that the orthotic is creating — and that is phase 2.
The specifics of Phase 2 will depend on the individual’s needs but may include: physiologic orthodontics or full-mouth rehabilitation, a combination of both, or a semi-permanent orthotic.