TMJ (the temporomandibular joint)

TMJ is the acronym pertaining to the temporomandibular joint.  The temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull at the temporal bone.  The TMJ is the most complex joint in the body because of many factors and the interaction of the teeth.  TMD or temporomandibular disorders can effect both the joint and the muscles of mastication.  If you are experiencing pain in the muscles of the head and neck, jaw muscles or the joint itself you may have temporamandibular disorder, or TMD. TMD can be caused by stress, continual clenching of the jaw muscles, or teeth grinding.

Some of the symptoms of TMD are:

  • Pain when opening or closing mouth
  • Trouble chewing
  • Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
  • Headaches, neck aches or ear pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening your mouth
  • Teeth Grinding

Many of these symptoms can often be associated with other health problems, so only a medical professional can rule out other possibilities and refer you to a qualified TMD practitioner. Teeth grinding is an especially problematic symptom because it can lead to further problems. Prolonged teeth grinding, or bruxism, can cause extensive enamel wear of the teeth and expose dentin. Dentin is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold, food or drink may also develop from excessive teeth grinding.

If you suspect you may have TMD, schedule a consultation. We can examine and diagnose your condition and provide relief for your symptoms. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers and hot/cold compresses are short term methods to provide relief for pain symptoms. An orthotic appliance can relieve the symptoms of TMD, provide vital diagnostic information and protect the teeth from wear as a result of grinding or bruxism.. In very severe cases of TMD, surgery may be required.

Night Guards/Orthotic Appliances

Many people are afflicted with a condition called bruxism, or teeth grinding.  Some people may do this consciously during the day, but to a much larger extent, it is an issue at night while you are asleep.  Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums.  The noise from grinding one’s teeth, can also disturb your significant others sleep, if loud enough.

If you brux (grind) or clench your teeth, you should consider an orthotic appliance, erroneously referred to as a night guard.  An orthotic appliance provides a barrier between your upper and lower teeth while you sleep.  All orthotics are custom fitted for comfort and proper bite.  Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and have the orthotic created by a dental lab. Delivery of your orthotic will take some time as the orthotic will be meticulously adjusted for pinpoint contact of the opposing teeth in a number of positions and movements. Orthotic appliances are very durable, hard, and easy to adjust and repair as necessary.

If you experience popping and clicking of the jaw joint, wake up with headaches and neckaches, toss and turn all night or fracture teeth for no known reason, you may be clenching and grinding.

Call and make an appointment to determine if you are a candidate for a n orthotic appliance.