At Smile On Dental Studio, we’re focused on getting great results for all of our patients with temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD). Most of the time, we emphasize conservative, reversible treatment, such as TENS or an oral appliance (also called an orthotic or bite splint). 

However, some people benefit from a more permanent solution to TMJ symptoms: bite reconstruction. Also called “Phase II” TMJ treatment, this approach seeks to alter your bite so that your teeth will hold your jaw in the proper relaxed position without needing a bite splint or TENS appointments. The best way to know if bite reconstruction is right for you is to talk to neuromuscular TMJ dentist Dr. Chris Hill in St. Louis. This article can help you understand bite reconstruction and why it might be right for you so you can make the decision to schedule your appointment at Smile On Dental Studio today. 

Why You Might Want Bite Reconstruction

The disruptive symptoms of TMJ require treatment: recurring headaches, jaw pain, tooth damage, jaw dysfunction, and ear symptoms like earaches, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and dizziness. Conservative TMJ treatments like TENS and an oral appliance make sense as a starting point, but sometimes it makes sense to get bite reconstruction. 

Typically, we want to demonstrate good results with an oral appliance before moving on to bite reconstruction. This helps us design an effective bite reconstruction, but it also helps you. You can look at the results from your oral appliance before committing to bite reconstruction. 

These are some of the situations where bite reconstruction might make sense for you. 

Your Teeth Are Damaged

Sometimes people experience significant tooth damage because of TMJ. You might have badly cracked, chipped, and worn teeth. You might even have repaired some of your teeth over the years, but the restorations themselves are worn, damaged, and /or mismatched. 

In this case, restoring your teeth is critical to having a functional bite and an attractive smile. It makes sense to restore your teeth. If we are restoring your teeth in this situation, we will also recommend bite reconstruction to help you get a healthy, balanced bite. 

Bite reconstruction in this situation not only takes the place of wearing your oral appliance, but it also protects your teeth and restorations from further damage. Bite reconstruction makes the most sense for people in this situation. 

You Need to Wear Your Appliance All Day

TMJ treatment progresses differently for people. For many, all-day appliance wear is only necessary at the beginning of treatment. After a few weeks or months, they can transition to only wearing their appliance when they sleep. This makes the bite splint easy to tolerate. 

However, for some people, all-day appliance wear remains necessary after months or years of treatment. People get tired of it and want to maintain their results without their oral appliance.

Bite reconstruction is ideal in this case. By building up your teeth, we can move your bite into the desired position–no appliance is necessary. 

Your Appliance Is Causing Problems

Sometimes, the appliance is a problem for you. You might have difficulty remembering to put your appliance in, causing it to get lost or damaged–and leading to poor results. Perhaps you can’t sleep with your appliance in. 

In some cases, we might recommend a fixed appliance to overcome the problem. Other times, bite reconstruction makes more sense. 

You’re Considering Cosmetic Dentistry

Another situation where bite reconstruction makes sense is if you’ve been considering cosmetic dentistry anyway. Bite reconstruction doesn’t just fix your bite, it can beautify your smile. As a general rule, beautiful smiles are healthy smiles. By giving you straight, white, wonderfully shaped teeth, bite reconstruction can give you the smile of your dreams as well as the healthy bite you need. 

Note that bite reconstruction can sometimes achieve the same results as a non-surgical facelift. Restoring your healthy bite can also restore the youthful proportions of your face to eliminate signs of aging, such as wrinkles around the mouth, sunken cheeks, jowls, and more. 

What Will Bite Reconstruction Be Like for You?

Bite reconstruction is a custom procedure custom-designed for you by Dr. Hill. He’ll look at your bite to determine how to establish a healthy balance. 

In general, bite reconstruction can include:

  • Orthodontics
  • Restorative dentistry

Although orthodontics often focuses just on creating straight teeth, at Smile On Dental Studio, we offer neuromuscular orthodontics. These procedures move your teeth into the proper position for a healthy, balanced bite. This approach can take longer than other orthodontic approaches: from 9-24 months. However, the results are more than just cosmetic: you’ll enjoy the long-term benefits of a healthy bite. 

Restorative dentistry builds up your teeth to put your jaw in the proper position. Most often, we use dental crowns to restore or add length to your teeth and ensure that your teeth sit together properly. However, we might also recommend replacing lost teeth with dental implants–removable partial dentures don’t do a good job of supporting a healthy bite. 

Learn More about Bite Reconstruction in St. Louis

If you are in the St. Louis area and you’re considering Phase II TMJ treatment, Dr. Hill is ready to help. He is happy to talk to current patients as well as those who had their Phase I treatment with another dental practice. 

Please call (314) 678-7876 or use our online form today to schedule an appointment at Smile On Dental Studio.