TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. This is the area on either side of your face where your lower jaw—or mandible—connects to your temple.
TMJ is a fairly small joint, but it has a pretty big job. It works when biting, chewing, speaking, making certain facial expressions, and even just when clenching the jaw. It moves up, down, forward, back, and a little bit side-to-side.
In summary, the TMJ is pretty important, but it’s also easy to stress out because it is responsible for so much activity. When this happens, we call it a TMD, which is temporomandibular disorder.
TMDs come in all shapes and sizes as well causes. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
- Headaches and migraines.
- Facial pain or soreness.
- Tension in or around the temples.
- Sore or sensitive teeth (often due to teeth grinding or jaw clenching).
- Limited ability to open the mouth.
- Jaw joint pain and stiffness.
- Jaw noises such as clicking, popping, or grating.
- Jaw locking (either open or closed).
These symptoms can be the result of strain to the TMJ. This strain can happen due to a sporting injury, a car accident, misalignment of the jaw, daily stress, excess muscle tension, bruxism (teeth grinding), and much more.
Whatever the cause, the goal of treatment is to stop the source of the stress, if possible, and then let the joint rest and recover.
TMD Mouthguard Appliance
One great way to give the TMJ a bit of recovery time is to use a custom-designed oral appliance. This looks a little like a mouthguard.
It is a device crafted to fit your mouth specifically. While wearing the mouthguard, your jaw is aligned properly, which eases the tension on theTMJ. It gives that joint time to rebuild itself.
The mouthguards also prevent jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which are very common sources of joint tension.
Now, something like this may seem like it would be cumbersome and awkward. However, the custom-designed fit of every oral appliance guarantees that it will do its job effectively. These appliances are made to be comfortable and to work to your mouth’s very specific needs.
Call Cape Vista Dental
If you suffer from TMJ strain or have any of the symptoms listed above, call our office. We want to get you out of pain as soon as possible.