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Holiday Stress or TMJ?

Dental patients who suffer with a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), commonly called TMJ, may experience an increase in teeth grinding and other symptoms of TMJ due to the added stress of the holiday season.

Among the many possible causes of TMJ, stress is a common factor, frequently causing patients to clench their jaw or teeth, grind their teeth and experience increased tension in the jaw and the temporomandibular joint (the TMJ).

Dr. Scott Finlay, a cosmetic and restorative dentist in the Annapolis area, has extensive post graduate education and specialized training in the treatment of bite disorders such as TMJ. The successful treatment of TMJ can be complex and providing long term results relies on the proper diagnosis of the underlying imbalance in the bite. Dr. Finlay uses digital technology known as Tek-scan to evaluate the precision and force of a patient’s bite : patients bite down on a sensor and 3-D images are created which can be used to analyze their bite and identify areas of imbalance. In addition to Tek-scan, Dr. Finlay also performs a thorough evaluation of a patient’s entire occlusal system before creating a customized treatment plan.

There are a wide variety of procedures and treatments that can be used for TMD, starting with the use of a night guard to prevent teeth grinding. This conservative approach is often effective in relieving the symptoms of TMJ and preventing damage to the teeth or TMJ.

For patients who have damaged teeth- either from the TMD or as a root cause- Dr. Finlay may recommend a restorative procedure to realign the teeth. This may involve reshaping the teeth with tooth bonding or crowns, realigning the teeth with orthodontics, or replacing missing teeth. All of these possible treatments will restore balance in the occlusal system.

TMJ can often be painful and affect a patient’s lifestyle: disrupted sleep, headaches, painful chewing are frequent complaints.

Dr. Finlay offers his Annapolis area dental patients the relief they need and restores their oral health with TMJ therapy.