TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, which is a condition that causes debilitating pain, lack of mobility, and compromised function of the temporomandibular joint. It’s a sliding hinge at the base of the skull that connects the jaw to the upper jaw on both sides.
When there is a problem with this joint, it can cause significant pain that affects your ability to open your jaw comfortably and chew your food. Patients also deal with radiating pain throughout their faces and other areas of the body.
While there aren’t any known causes of TMJ, some co-occurring problems in people with TMJ include teeth grinding, arthritis, oral injury, or having a misaligned bite. These problems may be causing or worsening TMJ in patients. Contact us at Insight Dental Group today to schedule a consultation.
TMJ can improve by eating soft foods, icing your jaw, and minimizing jaw movement.
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The most common symptom is severe pain and tenderness in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles. This pain can make it difficult to chew or open your mouth, which may cause nutritional issues.
Patients with TMJ may be unable to open their mouths very wide. Some patients even suffer from lockjaw, where their jaw regularly gets stuck, and they are unable to open or close their mouths.
Pain isn’t isolated in the jaw. TMJ sufferers also complain of pain radiating through their face, neck, ears, and shoulders and suffer from severe migraines.
If you notice signs that your grind your teeth, such as pain, damaged teeth, eroded enamel, and headaches, then you’re at a higher risk for developing TMJ. The strain on your jaw from clenching and grinding all night can cause wear and tear on the jaw joint.
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One of our dentists will assess the condition of your teeth to look for signs of teeth grinding. We will examine and take x-rays of your jaw to look for signs of damage to the temporomandibular joint and will assess your self-reported symptoms to determine if you have TMJ.
If you meet the criteria for diagnosis, impressions will be taken of your teeth and sent to a dental lab to create a custom-fit mouthguard for you to wear.
An outside dental lab will design and create a tailored mouthguard that will fit over your teeth. Custom-made mouthguards provide a much closer fit and are more effective at treating bruxism and TMJ than drugstore mouthguards. The mouthguard will relieve jaw strain as you sleep and prevent jaw clenching.
Once your mouthguard has been fabricated, we will call you back to pick it up from the office, and you can begin wearing it to sleep every night to improve your symptoms.
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