Treating TMJ Disorders

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and this is the joint that hinges your jaw.  It's quite a complex joint, and if it becomes damaged or inflamed, it can cause considerable pain.  The most common cause of TMJ disorders is teeth grinding.  Some people are aware they grind their teeth at night, while others are completely oblivious until informed of the facts by a disgruntled sleeping partner. 

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?

  • Common symptoms include:
  • Head and neck pain
  • sensitive and broken teeth
  • a sore jaw
  • a jaw that pops or clicks while chewing

It's essential to get this disorder treated as it can do considerable damage.  Teeth grinding, or to use the correct term, bruxism, will cause wear and tear on teeth and could lead to them eventually fracturing and needing removal.  It also affects the correct alignment of the jaw as the worn teeth will be shorter than normal so that the jaws meet together incorrectly, which can cause discomfort or pain.  It's far better to seek help early on for this disorder, as severe TMJ disorders can require extensive surgery to correct. 

Getting treatment

Getting the correct diagnosis is the first step.  If you think you may be suffering from TMJ, or you know that you grind your teeth at night then please make an appointment to come and see us.  We will be able to accurately diagnose your problem and prescribe the best course of treatment. 

Teeth grinding is actually a sleep disorder, and is a learned behavior which is often exacerbated by stress.  Wearing a night guard will help protect the teeth from the effects of grinding at night and can help interrupt this habit.  A lot of people find wearing a night guard is sufficient to break the habit of bruxism, while others may need additional help.

Alternative treatments

If you want to try alternative treatments in conjunction with using a night guard, then you may want to think about altering your sleeping environment, or just changing your pillow could make a real difference.  Some people have found that using a contoured pillow helps to reduce the strain on the neck and jaw.  

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