Tinton Falls, NJ
The joint that connects the top of the jaw to your skull is known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It can sometimes be affected by complications that cause pain, such as locking the jaw in place. Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose a problem with the joint, as it can be caused by problems within the mouth, or just in the joint alone. Bruxism is a common problem that occurs when the upper and lower dental arches grind against each other. Prolonged tension in the joint from bruxism can cause pain and headaches.
Premier Periodontics and Implant Dentistry has specialists who can help locate the cause of your jaw issue, and will attempt to fix it in the most non-invasive way possible, usually through the use of a night guard.
In some cases, the erosion of the protective disk between the skull and jaw can cause grinding between the two, and be the cause of pain for a patient. A heavy blow or impact to the TMJ can also cause the cartilage to become worn down. This can also be caused by bruxism and arthritis.
Bruxism can be caused by a number of reasons including stress, anxiety, alcohol, and caffeine. Sufferers of bruxism will realize their condition through pain in their jaw, waking up with a tense jaw and restlessness at night. It is important to get your bruxism looked at by one of our dentists, as prolonged teeth grinding can wear down enamel and put unnecessary pressure on your TMJ.
TMJ problems can often be short-lived, and so relaxation exercises associated with the jaw can give it the time it needs to heal. Avoiding chewing on hard objects, such as fingernails and pen lids, can help prevent unnecessary strain. A brief suspension of contact and object sports, eating soft foods, and using over-the-counter pain medication are all remedies to TMJ issues.
Bruxism can be treated using a custom fit mouthguard that is worn at night. Our dentists can take a mold and 3D images of your teeth, and send the data to a dental lab. There, they will be able to make a custom-fit night guard. This guard will fit snugly in your mouth, and prevent the damage to your teeth and strain of the jaw at night. The night guard will take some getting used to.
If pain persists, talk to one of our dentists, as they can teach you helpful jaw exercises that act to relax the joint, and alleviate pain. Sometimes, more sophisticated treatments are needed to amend TMJ issues. The filing of teeth and the placement of crowns can help realign a patient’s bite, to help ease the jaw and the strain that may be being placed on it.
In extreme scenarios, surgery can be used to open up the joint and amend the issue directly, but this is only done when less invasive methods have proved unsuccessful.
Our dentists at Premier Periodontics and Implant Dentistry are highly trained in TMJ related issues and bruxism and we understand the importance of a healthy jaw. There is plenty you can do at home to help soothe your jaw, book an appointment with us now at (732) 982-7988 to get fitted for a night guard.