TMJ Disorder is a dysfunction of the jaw muscles and joints. Symptoms can be as minor as a slight clicking or popping sensation when opening and closing the mouth, or as serious as a persistent pain that can extend into your face, neck, and shoulders. Severe TMJ disorders can even affect your posture and mobility!
Because other types of pain have been shown to mimic TMJ Disorder, a careful and thorough dental evaluation is essential. Evidence of wear on your teeth, as well as chipped edges, can be indications that you are clenching or grinding your teeth. These actions irritate and inflame your jaw joints and muscles, leading to TMJ disorders. If your symptoms point to a dental problem, a specially molded bite guard can be created to help stop teeth grinding during the night. Dental casts may be required to check the fit (occlusion) of your upper and lower teeth and determine whether they come together correctly. In some cases adjustments to your occlusion (bite) may help your condition. In some severe cases, prescription medication may be prescribed to manage discomfort of the muscles. Most TMJ issues are temporary, lasting only weeks or months – a very small percentage experience long-term discomfort. Those who have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth are at a higher risk for developing TMJ problems, as well as sustaining damage to their teeth. Having a professional guard made can not only ease symptoms, but can also help to preserve the structure of the teeth!