TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a group of conditions that can cause pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. While many people experience temporary pain associated with problems in the jaw joint, such as jaw clenching or teeth grinding, sometimes the pain can be chronic. TMJ disorders can cause symptoms such as joint pain, difficulty opening your mouth, locking of the jaw, and headaches.
The Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common of these include:
- Jaw pain
- Loud popping sounds when opening and closing your mouth
- Facial pain
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Clicking, grating, or popping sounds when opening your mouth
- Facial swelling
- Facial numbness
- Neck aches
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to address the underlying issue. Left untreated, TMJ disorders can cause you to experience permanent damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw.
Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders
Excellent oral health starts with an accurate diagnosis. Your dentist will first ask about your symptoms and examine your mouth. An X-ray can help diagnose a TMJ disorder.
Your dentist may also suggest relaxation techniques, like meditation or yoga. If your symptoms don’t improve, your dentist may recommend an oral appliance or other treatment.
In addition to medications, your dentist may provide you with a special dental appliance to wear at night. This appliance will keep your jaw in the proper position to help prevent clenching or grinding. If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, you should make an appointment with our dentist at Karen J Harris & Associates, as soon as possible.
Customized Bite Guards
Customized bite guards are made from a mold of your teeth. These guards are designed to fit comfortably in your mouth and prevent the jaw from sliding and damaging your teeth. In addition to helping treat TMJ, bite guards can also reduce teeth grinding at night.
Night guards are one of the quickest and most effective ways to address TMJ problems. A night guard is worn while you sleep and can help stop teeth grinding and clenching, which relaxes the jaw and relieves pain.
A night guard is designed to fit comfortably over your jaw and teeth. It’s typically made from hard acrylic or soft thermoplastic material. A dentist will make an impression of your teeth and then send it to a lab, where a technician will fabricate your night guard. Night guards are custom fit to your teeth, so they offer the best protection against TMJ disorders.
Orthodontics can treat TMJ disorders by fixing problems with the bite. Patients may first notice that the jaw is misaligned, which puts stress on the muscles. This can result in pain, headaches, and difficulty eating. Braces or other orthodontic appliances can fix this by aligning the teeth. This relieves the pressure on the jaw and muscles.
To learn more about the advantages of TMJ treatments, contact Karen J Harris & Associates at 2000 Locust, St. Louis, MO 63103 or call (314) 231-4893.