There are a lot of reasons why someone might grind their teeth. Maybe it’s temporary from stress, or maybe its an automatic reaction to pain. One possible cause, however, is temporomandibular joint disorder.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD, refers to a variety of disorders of the temporomandibular joints. These are the joints that connect your upper and lower jaw. Most of the problems related to TMJ come from a bad bite. There can be a number of reasons for bite problems, including:
- Trauma or injury
- Crooked teeth
- Naturally misaligned jaw
Every case of TMJ is different, so Drs. Wooddell and Passaro will work with you to diagnose your specific condition and design your treatment.
Symptoms of TMJ
There are several common symptoms of TMJ:
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Face, head, neck, and shoulder pain
- Trouble chewing
- Popping or clicking jaw
One of the most common is teeth grinding, or bruxism. Many people who grind their teeth may not notice, because it often happens at night. Teeth grinding can actually cause TMJ problems, too, by tightening the muscles of the jaw. The grinding can also wear down the teeth and cause or increase poor alignment. Proper treatment can help alleviate some of this damage, and even end your bruxism altogether.
The first step to any treatment is proper diagnosis. Drs, Wooddell and Passaro use a range of technology to diagnose your disorder. Once they understand your bite, our dentists can build a treatment plan and coordinate with any specialists if necessary. The most basic treatment available is a custom mouthguard. The mouthguard is made from your bite molds for a perfect fit and takes the pressure off your jaw at night. It can even relieve tension and prevent grinding in the future.
Some people may need braces to improve alignment. If your TMJ has gone untreated for some time, there may be tooth or jaw damage that needs to be treated. We are happy to work with you and build your healthier, more functional smile.
Schedule an Appointment
If you think you might suffer from TMJ, don’t let it go untreated. Contact Drs. James Wooddell and Joseph Passaro at Joseph & Passaro Restorative & Esthetic Dentistry and ask about treatment options. Schedule your appointment online or at (410) 343-7075 today.