If you have ever woken up with a sharp pain in your jaw, the sides of your face, clicking as you open and close your mouth, or any other general pain in your face or neck, you know how upsetting these symptoms can be.
All of these symptoms have been associated with TMJ/TMD. TMJ, the temporomandibular joint, is the point where your jaw connects to your skull. Problems with your jaw are referred to as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
What Causes TMD?
There is no single cause of TMD, but doctors have outlined several elements that can contribute to this jaw and neck pain. All of the following can lead to TMD:
- Jaw clenching and grinding. Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaws at night, which unfortunately contributes to TMD.
- Stress. High levels of stress often lead to tightening or clenching of jaw and facial muscles, which can lead to long-term strain.
- TMJ arthritis. When arthritis affects your jaw, it increased the difficulty and pain that comes from using that joint.
- Facial injury. Severe damage to the face can sometimes contribute to damage or strain on the TMJ.
We will work with you to get a full medical history as well as a detailed view of your facial structures. Our CBCT scanner is what helps us get an accurate view of your facial structures and how they work together. It produces a three-dimensional model of your mouth that we can carefully analyze during the diagnostic process.
Gathering this information as well as the detailed scan can help us determine the cause of your TMD.
How Is TMD Treated?
Each TMD case is different, and treatment will vary person to person. With that in mind, we have found that occlusal analysis and occlusal guards are one way to make a tremendous difference for patients suffering from TMD.
Occlusal analysis simply means studying a person’s bite and the way their jaw moves. This can bring important insights into what might be causing jaw pain and can lead to a highly accurate diagnosis as well as more effective treatment.
For the many people who grind their teeth or clench their jaws at night, an occlusal guard can cut back on the damage done. This guard fits over your teeth and protects them during bouts of nightly teeth-grinding. Occlusal guards can reduce the intensity of jaw clenching and the TMD pain that results.
While bite guards are effective for many patients, we have other options available as well. We carefully consider the cause of your TMD as well as your symptoms before suggesting treatment. When we suggest treatment options, the goal is always the same: to treat the root cause and provide lasting relief for your symptoms.
Call Our Office for Relief
We are ready to treat your specific case of TMD and help your TMJ heal! Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our TMD treatments!