Treating Your TMJ Disorder With An Oral Appliance

des moines tmj treatment

In our last blog we talked about the dangers that teeth grinding poses. But linked to this disorder is an issue known as TMD, or TMJ disorder. Millions suffer from this disorder, which impacts how you open and close your mouth, and which could lead to serious discomfort on a daily basis. In today’s blog, your Des Moines, IA, dentist talks about treating TMJ disorder with an oral appliance.

The Causes and Common Warning Signs of TMD

The temporomandibular joints connect our head and jaw, and control the movements needed to eat or speak. But when these joints undergo excess strain, this could cause the onset of TMJ disorder, and eventually even complicate how you open and close your mouth. The causes include factors that upset bite balance, such as malocclusion, tooth loss, injury to the face or jaw, complications with the growth of the jaw, or even untreated bruxism (teeth grinding). Symptoms could include headaches, migraines, jaw pain, facial aches, discomfort in the neck and shoulders, and even a popping or clicking sensation in your jaw. When you begin to exhibit these possible warning signs, we want you to see us right away for treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Using digital x-rays and intraoral cameras, our team will make a thorough diagnosis and carefully examine your smile for signs of trouble. If we find signs of strain, we can offer the most appropriate treatment option. For some cases, we could use orthodontics, including clear aligners, to gently reposition the teeth and improve bite balance. We could also use options like crowns, bonding, or contouring to help improve overall bite balance. If you have missing teeth, we could offer bridges and dental implants.

However, the most common solution is an oral appliance. Crafted based on the detailed digital images we take of your smile; the device is worn as you sleep and helps reposition your jaw to ease strain. It will look and fit like a mouthguard, and also prevents further dosage from teeth grinding by putting a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth.

Easing Discomfort

You could also ease disorder by avoiding hard or chewy foods, which exacerbates symptoms. You could also place a warm washcloth against the side of the face to ease strain as well, and we may suggest muscle exercises. If you have any questions about how we diagnose and treat issues like TMJ disorder, then contact our team today.


Our team wants to help restore your smile to optimal health and function once again. If you have any questions about improving your bite balance and freeing your smile of jaw joint strain, then contact your Des Moines, IA, dentist, Dr. Burds, by calling 515-244-9565.