TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, a chronic condition that causes persistent jaw joint pain, chronic headaches and a characteristic “clicking” noise when chewing, yawning or otherwise opening the mouth wide. Without proper treatment, TMJ can cause permanent damage to the jaw joint as well as long-term pain. Many also refer to TMJ as TMD, or temporomandibular disorder.
TMJ occurs when the jaw joints become strained and irritated, resulting in inflammation that can interfere with normal function of the joint. TMJ often occurs as a result of crooked teeth, uneven tooth surfaces or missing teeth, all of which can interfere with normal bite balance and bite mechanics. Without treatment, the uneven strains on the jaws can pull teeth out of alignment, resulting in uneven tooth wear that can increase the risks of tooth decay, tooth loss, and other issues.
Treatment for TMJ focuses on rebalancing the bite and normalizing bite mechanics to reduce unusual or uneven strain on the jaw joints. Once the underlying causes have been determined, treatment recommendations can include:
Mouth guards, also known as occlusal guards, are custom made for each patient using a dental impression of the teeth to ensure the most comfortable fit. When worn on a regular basis during sleep, mouth guards reduce jaw strain and help prevent tooth grinding and clenching that can contribute to strain and discomfort.
TMJ can be diagnosed with a routine dental visit and evaluation to check for signs of uneven wear or to determine if symptoms like headaches and jaw pain are caused by TMJ or other issues.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!