the dental clinic
Dr. Rahul Shah
Dr. Deanna Lue
Dr. Jenny Kim
4869 Dundas St W
Suite 201, Toronto ON
(416) 233 9581
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, functions as a sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. There are two TMJs, each located on either side of the jaw.
TMJ disorders may cause pain in your jaw joint area and in the jaw muscles that control movement. Pain associated with TMJ disorders can be due to a variety of factors such as trauma to the jaw, arthritis and genetics. Habits such as grinding or clenching of teeth can also cause TMJ disorders. Pain is usually temporary and is relieved with habitual modifications or non-invasive treatment.
Treatment is recommended when your dentist has diagnosed the condition. See your dentist if you have frequent jaw pain or tenderness. If you find it hard to open or close your jaw fully, you should let your dentist know as well.
The TMJ relies on cartilage and a small shock-absorbing disk to maintain smooth movements. Issues with these parts can cause pain and improper movement. Some possible causes are:
TMJ disorders may go away on their own without treatment in some cases. For the other cases, a variety of treatments may be used until an effective treatment is found. Treatment is usually non-surgical in nature but in some cases, your dentist may refer you to a specialist for certain surgical procedures.
A night guard may also be referred to as a bite splint or occlusal splint. It is a protective oral appliance that is made with a thick acrylic material that fits over your teeth. It creates a gap or space that prevents teeth from grinding against each other. While it may not fully stop grinding or clenching, it acts to protect teeth by minimizing stress on the jaw joints, chewing muscles and teeth. Teeth wear down against the night guard and not other teeth. This prevents damage to the teeth and gives the jaw a rest.
While there are generic fitted night guards available, you should get a custom-fitted night guard from your dental office for best results. A custom-fitted night guard will ensure that your jaw is aligned properly. It will also result in a much more stable fit and will not press against your gums.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned frequently, you should see your dentist to discuss diagnosis and treatment options. Taking action sooner can help to prevent further damage to your teeth and to the TMJ.