Two Approaches to Reconstructive Dentistry in TMJ
There are two main approaches to reconstructive dentistry in TMJ. In the first approach, some dentists see reconstructive dentistry as the end goal of all TMJ treatment. The hope is to reposition, repair, and build up teeth so that they can hold the jaw in a balanced, relaxed position. When successful, this could achieve the results of the oral splint, without need for an oral splint.
There are three main drawbacks to this approach:
- It’s expensive
- It’s irreversible
- It has a mixed success rate
Using restorative dentistry to completely rebuild your bite can be very expensive, since you need to get crowns placed on almost all teeth, including those that haven’t been damaged. In the process, a dentist makes irreversible changes to your teeth, including the loss of enamel that your body can’t repair or grow back. This might be justified if it could guarantee long-term relief from TMJ symptoms, but it doesn’t always work. Many people end up getting expensive dentistry and still rely on their splint and other treatments for relief.
That’s why Dr. Stafford generally favors the second approach: repair teeth that need to be fixed, but leave healthy teeth alone.
Reconstructive Dentistry Might Be Necessary
Although Dr. Stafford doesn’t always recommend reconstructive dentistry, there are definitely some cases where it might be necessary. Usually, this is because of tooth damage sustained because of clenching and grinding. Sometimes, though, TMJ develops after an accident, which might also have caused tooth damage.
We recommend reconstructive dentistry when:
- Teeth cause you pain
- Damaged teeth are vulnerable to future damage
- Your bite function is compromised
- Damaged teeth make you self-conscious
In these cases, we will recommend restorative dentistry that addresses the specific problems. We will alleviate pain, protect vulnerable teeth, restore bite function, and beautify your damaged smile. Our goal is to help you live your best life physically and emotionally healthy.
Don’t Get Reconstructive Dentistry without TMJ Evaluation
We also want to put out a caution for people considering reconstructive dentistry who haven’t been evaluated for TMJ and other bite problems. If you have experienced chipped, cracked, or worn teeth, you should have your bite evaluated before you get restorations (like crowns or veneers) placed on your teeth.
Otherwise, the same forces that damaged your teeth are likely to damage your restorations. While modern dental materials are stronger than tooth enamel, they are still vulnerable to excessive bite forces.
A bite evaluation will help ensure your results will last.
Considering Reconstructive Dentistry in Fort Atkinson?
If you are considering reconstructive dentistry in Fort Atkinson, either as part of TMJ treatment or for other reasons, Dr. Stafford can evaluate your bite to help ensure that dentistry will give the long-lasting results you desire. She can also make sure you aren’t getting unnecessary or ill-advised dentistry.