Your jaw is a complex system that supports your ability to chew and speak. It’s made up of intricate interlocking joints that are crucial to its movement and motion. These joints are known as the temporomandibular joints, and are commonly referred to as TMJ for short. Sometimes, these joints can become damaged and cause a cluster of symptoms known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD. Often times, the terms TMD and TMJ are used interchangeably to describe the disorder.
You may be suffering from TMJ if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Your jaw “clicks” whenever you move it.
- Pain in the jaw while chewing or eating.
- Persistent headaches.
- Locking of the jaw.
- Shoulder and neck pain.
Causes of TMJ
There is no exact cause of TMJ, and oftentimes, the culprit is hard to pinpoint. You may have developed TMJ by sustaining an injury to the jaw. You could have also gotten TMJ by grinding your teeth at night.
Grinding your teeth in your sleep, known as bruxism, involves the constant movement of your jaw which, over time, can damage it. Bruxism also wears down the enamel on your teeth, weakening them and exposing them to greater health threats.
Night Guards as a Way to Treat TMJ
At Southwest Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics with Adult Dentistry, we use night guards as a solution to TMJ. Wearing a night guard to bed can help realign your jaw. It also serves to create a barrier as you grind your teeth at night; this helps prevent further damage to your teeth. Your dentist will customize your night guard so that it fits snugly and comfortably in your mouth. Because it’s specifically tailored to your mouth, you shouldn’t need to worry about it slipping and sliding in your mouth.
Learn More about TMJ
If you would like to learn more about TMJ and how to treat it, please give our Littleton, CO dentist office a call. Our devoted staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to start getting some much-needed relief from TMJ.
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