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TMJ DISORDER: CAUSES AND SIGNS YOU MIGHT NEED A NIGHT GUARD

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TMJ DISORDER: CAUSES AND SIGNS YOU MIGHT NEED A NIGHT GUARD

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, is a common jaw condition that affects about 5-12% of the population. In mild forms, it causes nothing but jaw discomfort and stiffness, but serious cases of TMJ can cause lots of pain and even interfere with proper chewing and speaking. In this blog from Vivid Dentistry, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about TMJ and your treatment options. ‍

WHAT IS TMJ? UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER TMJ is a disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint. This is the small joint that is responsible for connecting the jaw to the skull. It’s located just beneath the ear. When it functions properly, it allows you to open your mouth smoothly and as widely as you’re able to.

But when this joint is affected by TMJ, it may begin to malfunction and won’t work properly, causing a variety of different symptoms. Some of the most common signs of TMJ include:

Jaw pain and tenderness Pain when chewing Difficulty or pain when opening your mouth all the way Jaw “popping” or “cracking” sounds when you open your mouth widely Headaches or radiating pain from the jaw joint “Locking” of the joint, which may stop you from being able to properly open and close your mouth Any kind of jaw pain is cause for concern, but if you recognize one or more of these symptoms, you may need to get help from an experienced dentist like Dr. Annie Enzweiler. ‍

WHAT CAUSES TMJ? TMJ is not caused by only a single problem, but can be caused by a wide variety of different things that may damage the temporomandibular joint. A few common causes of TMJ include:

Overuse – If you chew a lot of gum, for example, or you grind your teeth heavily at night, this can put unnatural strain on your jaw, leading to TMJ.

Injury – A blow to the side of the head could damage or dislodge the temporomandibular joint, leading to TMJ.

Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases – TMJ is common in people with inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. These disorders can result in inflammation and irritation of the temporomandibular joint. ‍

SIGNS THAT A NIGHT GUARD MAY PROVIDE YOU SOME RELIEF At Vivid Dentistry, we specialize in night guards for TMJ. Dr. Enzeweiler will create a special night guard that will reposition your jaws to help them heal. Here are a few signs this treatment may be right for you.

  • You have mild-to-moderate TMJ – Night guards are a good option for relief, but they may not be sufficient if you have severe TMJ symptoms.
  • You grind or suspect you grind your teeth – Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a major contributing factor to TMJ. Night guards have the added benefit of reducing grinding and preventing damage to your teeth from chronic bruxism.
  • You’re willing to make other lifestyle changes – Night guard therapy is the most effective when you take other steps such as physical therapy, eating a soft diet to minimize strain on your TMJ, and making other such changes to your lifestyle. ‍

CONTACT VIVID DENTISTRY TO EXPLORE YOUR TMJ TREATMENT OPTIONS

At Vivid Dentistry, Dr. Annie Enzweiler is an expert in TMJ treatment in Crestview Hills. With a night guard from our office, you’ll be able to get relief from your pain and discomfort. Contact us online or give us a call at (859) 414-6554 to learn more, discuss your TMJ in detail, and see how Dr. Enzweiler can help.


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