The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog
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The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog

You only have one set of adult teeth, and they need to last until you are 80, 90, or beyond. The actions you take towards your teeth today will either benefit you or harm you in the future. Of course, good dental care starts with seeing a dentist regularly. You should go in for cleanings and checkups, and any other time you think something might be amiss with your teeth. Education is important when it comes to any aspect of your health, so start reading the articles on this website to educate yourself about dentists and dental care. We promise that when you're 80 and you still have your teeth, you won't regret the time spent.


The Tooth of the Matter: A Dental Blog

Do You Have A TMJ Disorder?

Sofia Curtis

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull and is a complex ball-and-socket joint. When there are problems with this joint and surrounding ligaments and muscles, it can cause a TMJ dysfunction. If you are experiencing headaches, pain in your jaw, or clicking in your jaw joints, you may be experiencing a TMJ disorder. Read on to learn more about what causes TMJ problems and how to relieve your symptoms.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

TMJ disorders can be caused by

  • Teeth grinding
  • Crooked teeth or improper jaw alignment
  • Arthritis
  • Injury

You'll want to get checked out by a dentist so that you can get the right treatment for the root cause.

What Are Some Possible Treatments for TMJ Disorders?

If you grind your teeth, you may not only suffer from TMJ, you may suffer from tooth sensitivity. Your dentist may notice that you have microfracture or worn cusps on your enamel. When TMJ is caused by tooth grinding, a good treatment to try is a night guard. These plastic guards are custom-fitted to your teeth and are more comfortable to wear than over-the-counter night guards. These night guards can reduce your tooth grinding, which in turn reduces the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction.

If your TMJ disorder is caused by crooked teeth or improper jaw alignment, you may want to talk to your dentist about orthodontic treatment like braces. Your dentist may need to work with an oral surgeon if your jaws themselves are misaligned.

If you want to avoid major surgery but your jawbones are misaligned, your dentist may recommend an intraoral orthotic. When people think of orthotics, they may just think of shoe inserts, but orthotics are any device that provides support and correction for biomechanical issues.

A intraoral orthotic looks similar to a nightguard, but they are different because the intraoral orthotic goes an extra step and corrects your bite and retrains your jaw muscles into a more ideal position.

To fit you with a custom orthotic, your dentist will use a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device on the muscles on your face. TENS devices don't hurt; the electrical impulses disrupt pain neurotransmitters and help to relax your ligaments and muscles. Once you are relaxed, your dentist can guide your jaws and teeth into an ideal position for a polyvinyl bite registration. A bite registration is similar to an alginate impression and is sent to a dental lab. At the dental lab, a dental technician will create the customized orthotic based on the bite registration. Unlike a night guard, you may need to wear your orthotic throughout the day until your dentist is satisfied that you've eliminated your TMJ dysfunction.

For more information about TMJ dental treatment, contact a dentist in your area today.