Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that causes pain in your temporomandibular joints or TMJs. The TMJs connect your lower jaw to your skull and are susceptible to various conditions that cause pain and dysfunction, including arthritis and bruxism. Symptoms of TMJ include jaw pain, difficulty chewing, headaches, and pain when opening and closing your mouth wide. Fortunately, our dentist at Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis, can recommend treatments that can reduce discomfort and help you return to your everyday life.
Causes of TMJ/ TMD
Many factors can contribute to developing TMJ, including genetics, arthritis, stress, and teeth grinding. Your dentist will assess your condition and recommend treatment options to treat TMJ. This could include oral appliances that shift the jaw into a more comfortable position so you can sleep more comfortably at night. Other options include physical therapy to relieve pain and inflammation, medications, and Botox injections. People suffering from sinus issues or allergies often suffer from teeth grinding, which is the body’s way of alleviating some of the sinuses' pain.
Stress and anxiety can also cause someone to clench their jaw while sleeping, resulting in severe cases of teeth grinding. Clenching your jaw while you sleep puts a lot of force on your teeth, gums, and jaw joints. This can lead to various painful symptoms, including headaches, earaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
Treatment of TMJ/ TMD
The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull, allowing your jaw to open and close smoothly. When patients experience pain in this joint, it’s usually due to the cartilage being worn down from grinding or clenching the teeth. There are a few treatments for TMJ/ TMD, but the most common is using a mouthguard or splint to prevent teeth grinding and clenching. Another option would be using an occlusal guard to protect the surface of your teeth from wear. Our dentist will create a custom-fit appliance for you to wear at night, allowing you to rest easy knowing you’re protecting your smile from wear and tear. Patients with internal derangement of the joint can also benefit from treatment with physical therapy, orthodontics like braces, and in some cases, surgery.
Your teeth are worth investing in for your long-term health and comfort. For the best dental treatment customized to your specific needs, get in touch with Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis at 4224 Watson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63109, or call (314) 832-1366.