We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.
For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternative treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouth guard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend certain invasive procedures.
The deprogrammer is a removable retainer-like appliance which allows us to evaluate the stability of your bite. Every time you chew or swallow, you must adapt your jaw to the best fit for your teeth. If this fit is not ideal for your jaw joint and muscles, you will be at higher risk for experiencing facial pain as well as worn, broken or loose teeth. The deprogrammer removes the influence of your teeth from your chewing system by preventing them from interlocking and reinforcing the position of your existing bite. This allows your lower jaw to relax into a more comfortable position. Once your lower jaw has fully relaxed, we will be able to provide you with treatment options for maintaining your bite in this new, more comfortable position.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long do I need to wear my deprogrammer?
You can expect us to recommend wearing the deprogrammer for up to one month. During this time, it should only be taken out of your mouth while you are eating meals and cleaning your teeth.
2. How does the deprogrammer feel in my mouth?
The deprogrammer is designed to be as comfortable as possible. Within a few days you will likely have adapted to talking with it in your mouth. Some people initially experience soreness in their chewing muscles which resolves as those muscles relax.
3. How much will my bite change?
The change in your bite is usually very slight, although the improvement in the feel of your bite after wearing the deprogrammer can be dramatic.
4. If I decide not to proceed with treatment after wearing the deprogrammer, will my bite remain changed?
No, your chewing system will adapt back to your original bite after a few hours of leaving the deprogrammer out of your mouth.
5. How do I care for my Deprogrammer?
Clean your deprogrammer every time you clean your teeth. Gently brush your appliance with a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush and rinse with warm water. Any time the deprogrammer is out of your mouth, keep it safe in its retainer box.