The temporomandibular joints that hinge your jaw are sophisticated enough to allow your mouth to move and apply complex forces. This allows you to speak clearly, chew and grind food, as well as make many common facial expressions. When discomfort, inflammation or dysfunction develops in these joints, it is often given the blanket term TMJ disorder.
There are several potential causes of TMJ discomfort. Identifying which ones are prevalent in your own situation will improve your chances for successful remediation at TMJ Therapy.
Chronic night grinding, which is known as bruxism, is one of the more common causes of TMJ disorder. The tension placed on the muscles, joints and related connective tissues can cause muscle soreness and inflammation problems. In a situation like this, you might find significant relief from using a dental guard when you sleep. This is a soft yet durable, plastic appliance that allows your teeth to slip easily while also providing some cushion. This can also help prevent chips on your teeth from the extreme grinding pressure.
At the same time, a previous dislocation in either of the temporomandibular joints could also cause TMJ discomfort. In most of these cases, one or both of the joints might not have seated back together perfectly. The misalignment in the joint can cause inflammation and early onset of arthritis.
Even if there haven’t been previous dislocation issues, the natural process of aging can also cause TMJ arthritis. This could then further escalate TMJ discomfort if you grind your teeth at night.
If you live in the American Fork, Utah, area and you are struggling with TMJ discomfort, you should call 801-756-0900 for professional treatment from Dr. Carl McMillan.