TMJ is an acronym that stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This is when you have dysfunction in the joint that connects the skull and jaw together and is responsible for sliding actions.
TMJ results in decreased mobility and increased pain and tenderness. Sometimes it’s the specific joint itself that has been damaged or compromised or it can be the surrounding muscles in the jaw. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
We can identify TMJ by assessing your self-reported symptoms and performing an oral exam.
During your consultation with our Naperville dentist, we will assess your reported symptoms and examine your jaw, throat, and surrounding tissues to look for signs that can support a diagnosis.
If you have TMJ, we will need to take digital scans of your mouth so we can create a custom mouthguard for you.
Your impressions will be sent to a dental lab that will take a few weeks to fabricate the nightguard and send it back to us.
Once we receive the night guard at our office, we’ll call you back for another appointment so we can check that they fit properly and you can begin your treatment.
A night guard is the gold standard for treating TMJ. Night guards kill two birds with one stone - they prevent your jaw muscles from contracting and straining while at the same time cushioning your teeth from teeth grinding. Teeth grinding or bruxism can cause a lot of damage to your teeth and worsen TMJ pain.
A mouthguard absorbs the force so you won’t break your teeth. The mouthguard also holds your jaw in a desirable position so your jaw and facial muscles remain relaxed. This prevents jaw pain and headaches and prevents obstruction to your airway.
Bruxism is closely linked to TMJ and can cause enamel erosion or chipped teeth without a mouthguard
TMJ first and foremost cause a lot of pain. If you notice that your jaw constantly feels sore or tender, this is a sign that you probably have TMJ and grind your teeth. The pain can radiate from your jaw throughout your face, and to your ears. Many TMJ sufferers experience migraines, difficulty chewing or opening their mouth wide, and hear a clicking or popping noise when they open their mouth.
There is no known single cause of TMJ but it seems to be caused by damage to the jaw’s temporomandibular joint or the surrounding jaw muscles. This damage can be caused by arthritis, severe teeth grinding, injury to the jaw, or a disc in the jaw becoming eroded or misaligned. Many people with TMJ seem to have co-occurring bruxism (teeth grinding), so if you grind your teeth, you are at a higher risk of developing TMJ.
While TMJ may not cause any health problems right away, you can do a lot of damage over many years. In the beginning, you’ll first deal with jaw and face pain as well as headaches that become progressively worse until they're debilitating.
The pain can make it difficult to sleep and eat which results in poor sleep and malnutrition. Over time, TMJ can cause significant permanent damage to the jaw, eroding the underlying jawbone. This can eventually lead to severe injury such as dislocation of the jaw if you neglect treatment.
because your jaw joint is closely connected to your ears, inflammation and damage to your jaw can lead to hearing difficulties.
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