The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull. It works like a sliding hinge to allow you to talk, laugh, eat, and yawn. If there is an issue that prevents it from working properly, it can lead to pain in the joint itself as well as in the muscles that control jaw movement. This is known as a TMJ disorder or TMD. It has not been determined what the exact cause of TMD is, but stress has been found to be a large factor. Dental Impressions can assist with relieving symptoms associated with TMJ in Chicago.
In addition to stress, other factors that have been linked to TMJ disorder include genetics, arthritis, and jaw injury. Each of these factors can lead to pain and cause teeth grinding or clenching. If left unaddressed, this symptom could cause damage to the teeth, as they could be worn down or broken.
The pain and discomfort that results from a TMJ disorder is often temporary, and it can be relieved with self-managed care. These non-surgical methods include medication (such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, tricyclic antidepressants, and muscle relaxants), oral splints or mouth guards (if a non-drug therapy is preferred), or relaxation methods that can relieve stress to ease the symptoms associated with TMD.
Your dentist at Dental Impressions can provide you with an oral splint or mouthguard. These are devices (either soft or firm) that are inserted over the teeth and usually worn through the night during sleep. They can be very helpful in protecting against teeth grinding and preventing the pain associated with it.
Physical therapy is another method that could be used to treat TMJ disorder. These treatments include ultrasound, moist heat and ice, and stretching exercises to strengthen the jaw muscles. Injections into the joint may also help with easing tension, specifically using the botulinum toxin.
If relief cannot be found using these methods, surgery may become necessary to treat TMJ disorder. Make an appointment at Dental Impressions to have your TMJ examined and to receive treatment in Chicago.