TMJ or TMD, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder, is a painful condition in which the joint that hinges the lower jaw to your skull is damaged or dysfunctional. This results in difficulty opening and moving the jaw which can cause difficulty with speaking and eating. Inflammation or injury to the joint creates a popping noise when opening the jaw and causes lockjaw (inability to close or open the mouth all the way.)
To treat TMJ, we take impressions of your mouth and send them to a dental lab that fabricates a personalized mouthguard for you to wear when you sleep at night. This eases the strain on your jaw by providing a cushion between your teeth and absorbing force so you don’t damage your teeth.
Bruxism and TMJ are often co-occurring conditions and a mouthguard is highly effective at treating both. While there are mouthguards available over-the-counter at drugstores, they are not molded to fit the precise measurements of your mouth and this can cause discomfort and be ineffective at holding your jaw in the proper position.
A dental-grade mouthguard is custom-fit to your mouth and made of high-quality thermoplastic. You will notice immediate relief in pain and strain in your jaw once you start wearing a mouthguard and over the long term, it will prevent erosion of your jawbone and serious damage to your jaw and teeth.
There are a range of possible causes of TMJ but they all have to do with causing damage or inflammation in the jaw’s TMJ or muscles. These include:
Over time, the pain and damage caused by TMJ get progressively worse. While you may think that you can handle the pain and discomfort now, keep in mind that as the years go on, the pain may radiate to new places, become more severe, and even cause jawbone loss from placing excessive strain on the jaw. This puts you at risk of dislocating your jaw and having severely limited mobility that can interfere with your ability to speak and eat.
Think You Have TMJ? Schedule a Consultation Today!
Based on an oral and physical exam and an assessment of your symptoms, we can determine if you have TMJ and get you started on a treatment plan. Contact us at Smileplicity Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Daiana Atari.
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