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Occlusal expertise eradicates jaw pain for young Illume client

A chance remark to an Illume dentist has resulted in a dramatic improvement to young client Esme Buxton’s quality of life. During a routine Healthy Mouth Review, Esme mentioned that she was having a very difficult time with her jaw - to the point where she would wake up in pain most mornings.

Esme takes up her story, “I was advised that this was not normal for someone of my age, I’m in my early twenties, and with my permission, would trial a new method of treatment over the course of a year. I approached the treatment with an open mind and a willingness to put my trust in Illume and the results have been life changing!”

The term ‘Occlusion’ is used to describe the relationship between the teeth of the upper and lower jaws, specifically how they align and function. In some cases occlusion issues can cause a range of symptoms including jaw ache, headaches and even painful shoulders.

These symptoms can also be the result of a condition called ‘Bruxism’ – commonly referred to as ‘teeth grinding’. However, on closer inspection of Esme’s jaw it was found that she was suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder that could benefit from treatment using an occlusal splint known as an ‘anterior repositioning appliance’.

The TMJ joins the lower jaw to the temporal bone which is part of the cranium (skull) and is cushioned by an articular disc made of fibrocartilagenous tissue. It is a complex joint and is connected by three ligaments which partly determine the movement of the jaw - pain can occur if there is an imbalance between the muscle that is attached to the joint, the ligaments that support the joint or if the disc is damaged.

Altering the position of the jaw can result in significant improvements. The splint that was designed and made for Esme allowed one of the ligaments attached to the TMJ disc to repair and heal by bringing the jaw forward. In doing so, the disc no longer clicks and Esme is now pain free.

Occlusal splints can be used to treat a range of conditions, including Bruxism which could have far reaching consequences for a significant number of people. It is estimated that approximately 8-10% of the population are ‘teeth grinders’, but because the sufferer is usually asleep when the grinding takes place it sometimes only becomes apparent when a partner notices, or the sufferer experiences pain.

Esme continues, “My jaw is never in pain any more, the 'clicking' it used to make when opening and closing has disappeared and even small everyday things like chewing gum are not an ordeal for me anymore.

“I cannot thank everyone at Illume enough for improving my life so dramatically and for being such great people.”

More details about Bruxism can be found by visiting www.bruxism.org.uk If you think you might benefit from this type of treatment please arrange an appointment to discuss your options by calling 01242 522230.