TMJ Questions

Dr. Kleive believes knowledge is your most important tool in getting the proper care to diagnose and correct TMJ! Read on to learn more about temporomandibular joint disorder and the most effective methods of treatment.

Can I buy a mouth guard at an athletic store to treat TMJ by myself?

Although sports mouth guards are recommended by some dentists to prevent grinding at night, they can actually contribute to TMJ problems by misaligning the jaw or encouraging the muscles to hold tension. A TMJ bite guard is specially designed and fitted to hold your jaw in the ideal position and to correct your individual bite. A generic mouth guard could do nothing, or it might make matters worse.

My previous dentist diagnosed me with TMD and made me a mouth guard to wear, but it hasn’t worked. What should I try next?

Unfortunately, the majority of orthotic bite guards made for TMJ patients are incorrectly fitted. As a result, they have very little impact or may even contribute to worsening symptoms and pain. A bite guard needs to be carefully designed and perfectly fitted to realign the bite, relax the jaw, and reduce inflammation and tension.

If your current mouth guard is ineffective, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a bite guard won’t work for you. It’s much more likely that the one you have has been poorly designed. Please bring your mouth guard along to your initial consultation with Dr. Kleive so he can assess its fit and determine necessary improvements.

Will my insurance cover TMJ treatment?

Although many insurance providers will cover TMJ treatment, some dental policies will not pay for bite orthotics to treat TMJ. We are happy to contact your insurance carrier to determine whether they cover orthotic bite splint therapy, and will submit the necessary diagnostic and treatment codes to ensure that you are reimbursed for your payments.

If your insurance will not pay for TMD treatment, we offer dental healthcare financing options that make it possible to receive the care you need. If you have any questions about insurance or financing, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Are there other treatments for TMJ problems that don’t involve a mouth guard?

Every case is different, so it’s impossible to say with absolute certainty whether a bite guard is the best solution for you.

  • In about 95% of TMD cases, however, the problem is resolved with use of a bite guard or mouth guard, so it’s the best treatment for most people with this problem.
  • The goal in TMJ treatment is to correct the alignment of the jaw bones and the bite, permanently if possible. Some people have what is called an “unstable” or “dysfunctional” natural bite, and may need to use a bite guard for the rest of their lives to prevent a recurrence of TMJ symptoms.
  • In other cases, it’s possible to resolve the problem permanently with short-term use of bite orthotics.
  • Alternative solutions, such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, are also helpful for many patients.
  • While other options do exist, they are much more invasive and may require surgery, so a bite guard is usually our primary recommendation for TMD treatment.

Does TMJ treatment ever fail? What if it doesn’t work for me?

In about 5% of cases, even the best, professionally designed custom orthotics don’t resolve all TMJ symptoms. We refer these few patients to a specialist TMJ surgeon.

If you’re looking for experienced TMJ treatment near Asheville, contact us to schedule an initial session today. Dr. Kleive’s practice is located in Black Mountain, North Carolina.