What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint disorder (sometimes also called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD), a chronic condition that occurs when the components of the jaw joint become irritated and inflamed. TMJ usually occurs when the bite mechanics are not balanced or optimized, resulting in uneven strain and stress on jaw joints that produces inflammation in and around the joint components.
What are the symptoms of TMJ?
TMJ is most commonly associated with chronic jaw pain, jaw fatigue, chronic headaches, clicking noises when talking or eating, tooth grinding or bruxism, and even sometimes sensations of the jaw "locking" in place or becoming "stuck.” Not all patients will experience every symptom, and symptoms can also change over time.
How is TMJ treated?
Successful treatment of TMJ relies on addressing the causes of the condition. Sometimes, a bite can become "off balance" when a tooth is lost to decay or trauma and is not replaced right away, or when the replacement solution is not ideally positioned or shaped, such as with an ill-fitting denture or bridge. Other times, TMJ may be caused by alignment issues or overcrowding, both of which can be addressed with orthodontic care. Some mild to moderate types of TMJ may be addressed with the use of mouthguards that cushion the jaw and reduce or eliminate the strain from clenching and tooth grinding. Guards are most commonly worn at night when clenching and grinding are more likely to occur.
Are mouth guards comfortable?
Yes, the mouth guards used to provide symptoms relief in patients with TMJ are extremely comfortable, custom-fit for each patient's mouth shape and fabricated from lightweight, resilient materials designed to cushion the jaw joints without interfering with sleep. Mouth guards can also prevent the uneven wear on tooth surfaces that can be caused by bruxism and clenching.