If you suffer from jaw pain, neck stiffness, migraine headaches, tooth pain, fractures, or shoulder aches, your temporomandibular joints and the surrounding muscles may be causing these symptoms. TMD stands for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which occurs when jaw joints are not properly seated.
The TMJs give the jaw full range of motion, allowing it to open, close, and move side to side. Stress, injury, or fatigue can cause the jaw joints to become misaligned, yet the mouth can still move. Over time, muscles and associated nerves become fatigued and cause discomfort.
As many as 40 million people are known to tense and release their jaw muscles by biting, grinding, or clenching while they sleep. Categorized as bruxism, clenching and grinding often go hand-in-hand with TMJ dysfunction. Bruxism can create uneven tooth wear, fractures, or chipping and contribute to headaches or jaw pain. Our dentists can identify the cause of your bruxism or TMJ pain.
After a complete evaluation, your doctor will review nonsurgical therapies, such as hot and cold therapy, and strengthening exercises and tips for reducing stress. We will also help you decide on the best treatment option, which may include a TMJ appliance to keep your jaw in the proper position. Often, our dentists suggest nightguards, which are custom oral appliances designed to protect your teeth, relax your muscles, and stabilize your jaw while you sleep.