TMJ therapy addresses painful disorders in the temporomandibular joint area. They are caused by bruxism: grinding and clenching your teeth which can lead to cracked teeth, pain, and tooth loss. Many people experience jaw pain and dental problems without knowing that they are grinding their teeth. Bruxism can be caused by stress, but mostly it occurs at night. If left untreated, this condition may result in loose, cracked, and worn teeth, headaches, jaw pain, hearing loss, and TMJ/TMD disorders.
Treatment plans for bruxism usually include recommendations for stress-reduction methods, as well as custom-fitted night guards to help protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep. Your doctor will advise you as to practices that help relieve bruxism, such as cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, avoiding chewing things that aren’t food, and jaw-relaxation techniques.
Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) are caused by injury or inflammation of the joint of the jaw. This is usually caused by: bruxism (grinding and clenching your teeth), dislocation of the disc within the joint, arthritis, or injury to the jaw. TMJ/TMD disorders may cause the following symptoms:
- pain in your face, jaw, neck, or shoulders
- clicking and popping of the jaw
- “locking” of the jaw
- difficulty chewing
- fatigue of the jaw
Treatment for TMJ/TMD involves a range of options including heat or ice packs, pain-relieving and/or anxiety medications, and night guards or splints. The night guard will maintain space between the teeth to prevent clenching, while in more severe cases, splints may be used to hold the jaw in place.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of bruxism or TMJ/TMD disorders, contact Dr. Chui’s dental office to receive a thorough evaluation and treatment that will restore your quality of life.