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The temporomandibular joints hinging your jaw are sophisticated. They incorporate a cartilaginous disk and a concert of muscles and ligaments to enable you to bite, chew and grind food. The TMJ disorder is a general term used to describe an ache, pain, or general dysfunction in these joints. Identifying the primary cause of the problem can help increase treatment success.

Grinding your teeth at night on a regular basis can lead to the TMJ disorder. The tension placed on the muscles, ligaments, and joints can result in soreness and inflammation. If this is the case, you might find significant relief from using a night guard when you sleep. The soft yet durable plastic material allows your teeth to slip easily and will provide some cushioning.

A past dislocation in your jaw can also be a likely cause of the TMJ disorder. If a hard fall or blow to the face dislocated one or both joints, they might not have seated back together perfectly. Even a minor misalignment can result in muscle tension and inflammation.

It is also possible for arthritis to develop in the temporomandibular joints. As you age, basic activities like speaking, chewing and grinding tough foods can wear the down the cartilage. This is even more likely to be the case if you frequently grind your teeth at night.

If you are concerned that you might be developing the TMJ disorder in American Fork, Utah, you should call 801-756-0900 to schedule an appointment with your dentist, Dr. Carl McMillan, at TMJ Therapy.