TMJ disorder is a generic term that refers to many of the problems associated with the temporomandibular joint. Our specialist can discuss the symptoms and remedies recommended for those who suffer from TMJ disorder.
The temporomandibular joint is located just above your jaw in front of your ear. There are two of these joints, one on each side, and they are designed to work together to allow us to chew, speak, yawn and virtually anything that is related to tasks involving our mouth or jaw.
This joint is a very complex part of the body and has many functions. When there is discomfort, locating the exact source can be difficult. This joint is made up of muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue and teeth.
TMJ disorder involves inflammation, and can manifest itself in many ways. Migraines, neck or shoulder discomfort, earache and even hearing loss can be attributed to TMJ disorder. Chewing difficulties or a clicking sound when opening and closing the mouth should be examined by a dentist for the root cause.
One of the major causes of TMJ disorder focuses on the grinding and clenching of teeth. This is most often an involuntary function done during sleep or unconsciously throughout the day. Many people grind their teeth at times due to anxiety, which is normal. But when grinding becomes more habitual, your dentist has several suggestions to help.
Perhaps on initial examination your dentist might recommend some of the simpler ideas you can try such as taking smaller bites of food when you chew, avoid biting your nails or chewing gum. But for long-term relief, many have found that employing the use of a nightguard will help alleviate the grinding and teeth clenching often associated with TMJ disorder.
A night guard is also called an occlusal splint or a mouth guard. There are several different types so a discussion with your dentist will help determine what will work best for you.
In addition to a nightguard, your dentist might also suggest checking your bite for any signs of a malocclusion which might alter the motion engaged while chewing. A bite adjustment might provide some relief to minor TMJ disorders.
For more information about TMJ disorder and to schedule a consultation, call our office and speak with our professional and friendly team today!