Digital Nightguards in Lake Charles, LA

Chronic headaches, soreness in your jaw, tenderness when biting or chewing, excessive wear to your teeth, and popping and clicking in your jaw are just a few of the symptoms you might experienceWoman with TMJ pain in need of a dental nightguard in Lake Charles if you struggle with clenching or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism. Not only does bruxism cause damage to your teeth, but it can also be detrimental for your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and contribute to a painful jaw joint disorder known as TMD.

Fortunately, Dr. Hannaman and Dr. Hebert, your trusted dentists in Lake Charles, LA, offer excellent solutions for bruxism and TMD with customized nightguards and other treatment options. We can even fabricate your mouthguard on-site with digital impressions, and FDA approved 3-D printed material. You will no longer have to live with the discomfort of TMD or the damage and wear that clenching and grinding causes to your teeth.

Contact our Lake Charles dental office today at (337) 474-4892 to learn more about TMD, bruxism, and to get started on your own customized nightguard.

The Difference Between TMJ and TMD

The terms TMJ and TMD actually mean different things. TMJ stands for your temporomandibular joint, referring to the complex jaw joint in your body that is responsible for allowing you to eat, chew, laugh, yawn, talk, and much more.

When your TMJ is not functioning correctly, it causes painful issues and a disorder known as TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. TMD can become very debilitating for some people, and you may struggle with one or more of these symptoms:

  • Tenderness or pain when you bite or chew food
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • The jaw locking open or closed
  • Popping or clicking of the jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth
  • Chronic neck and shoulder pain
  • Tooth clenching or grinding

Finding the right solutions for TMD provides relief from the extreme discomfort it can cause, while also significantly improving the quality of your life.

Diagnosing TMJ Problems

Using technology such as digital x-rays and a thorough examination, Dr. Hannaman or Dr. Hebert can make an accurate diagnosis of TMD. They will also take into consideration contributing factors to TMD, such as excessive wear to your teeth, the way that your bite functions, or tooth misalignment when determining if the jaw joint disorder is a concern for you. 

If you are diagnosed with TMD, our dentists in Lake Charles, LA have several treatment solutions that can help alleviate your discomfort.

Who Is at Risk for Developing TMD?

TMD seems to be more prevalent in women than in men though anyone can be affected by it. The root cause can also be difficult to determine on your own because it sometimes results from more than one condition. That's why it's crucial to seek the expertise of your Lake Charles dentist for a diagnosis. 

Some risk factors for TMD are:

  • Malocclusion - A bite that is not aligned or functioning properly
  • Trauma or an injury to the jaw
  • Patients who have arthritis, which is a disease that attacks the joints
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth

The TMD and Bruxism Relationship

TMD and bruxism often go hand in hand. When you clench and grind your teeth, it typically happens at night, making it tricky for you to diagnose on your own. While you sleep, your muscles are working overtime, and the force of bruxism causes excessive wear and even fractures or chipping to your teeth. If your teeth are worn, your bite may not be aligned correctly, causing your jaw joint to compensate by sliding to the left, right, front, or back to bring the teeth together comfortably.

Bruxism is often the cause of painful TMD symptoms, but it can often be the result of having the disorder as well. That is why Dr. Hannaman or Dr. Hebert perform a thorough evaluation when diagnosing bruxism or TMD. When they can detect the underlying cause, it's easier to recommend more effective treatment that will eliminate TMD problems.

Treatment Options for TMD and Teeth Grinding

Depending on the root cause of your TMD, there may be several treatment options to choose from. Sometimes, patients can achieve relief from their symptoms by taking some steps on their own. Some patients benefit from doing muscle exercises and massage therapy. While others find relief by applying hot or cold packs. Stress management techniques like meditation can also relieve both bruxism or TMD for some people.

If bite alignment is the cause, your dentist in Lake Charles, LA may recommend repairing some teeth with dental crowns or veneers to eliminate excessive wear and realign the bite. Orthodontic treatment to correctly align teeth and correct the bite may also be the best option for patients with bite concerns.

Patients struggling with teeth grinding and clenching may benefit from wearing a custom night guard while they sleep. The nightguard fits comfortably over your teeth and helps your jaw muscles to relax, while also protecting your teeth from the damage that bruxism causes.

The Advantages of Digital Solutions

Lake Charles dentist holding up a dental nightguardAt the office of Dr. Edward J. Hebert and Dr. Scott M. Hannaman, we focus on utilizing leading-edge technology, and treatment for TMD and bruxism is no exception. If you can benefit from a custom mouthguard, we'll create it right here at our Lake Charles dental office while you wait.

We now take digital impressions, which relieves you from having to endure the uncomfortable and goopy impressions used in the past. Digital impressions offer a precise 3-D image that is available immediately, and we capture it just by scanning your teeth. Then, we use that image to create your custom nightguard with FDA approved 3-D printable material.

It used to take a dental laboratory one to two weeks to fabricate an acrylic mouthguard from a stone model we made from those uncomfortable and goopy impressions. Today, however, you'll be able to leave our office the same day with your custom nightguard and begin utilizing it right away.

Is a Custom Nightguard Expensive?

While a nightguard is an investment, the good news is that most dental insurance plans do allow some coverage for it that will help defray the cost. You also have to consider the benefits you receive from protecting your teeth from costly damage and the relief provided from your discomfort when you're weighing the cost of your nightguard. A custom nightguard is easy to get used to wearing while you sleep and will also serve you for many years if you clean it, take good care of it, and keep it out of the reach of pets.

Our knowledgeable treatment coordinator is happy to help you determine if your insurance will help with any of the cost of your custom nightguard in Lake Charles. You should also ask about our in-office financing if you feel like making monthly payments would help cover the cost of your nightguard.

Start TMJ Treatment in Lake Charles

Do you suffer from some of the symptoms we discussed? Are you thinking maybe a partner or loved one is suffering from bruxism or TMD? Contact your Lake Charles dental team today at (337) 474-4892 to arrange a convenient time for an evaluation. Relief from your discomfort is just a phone call away!