Do you experience clicking, popping, or locking in your jaw joints? Do you wake up each day with sore teeth or a headache? If you experience some of these symptoms, you may have Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (TMJD).
Millions of Americans suffer from TMJD and do not know that it is treatable. If you notice your teeth are becoming worn, shortened, or chipped, you may be grinding your teeth (a condition called bruxism) or experiencing TMJD.
Symptoms may range from mildly annoying clicks and pops to severe pain. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact us right away. TMJD does not usually resolve on its own, and when left untreated, may require surgery. If your jaw locks open or closed, it can be frightening and painful. Locked jaws may require surgery.
Some of the most common TMJD symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Gum recession
- Abfractions (teeth chipped at the gum line)
- Shortened teeth
- Clicking, popping, or locking
- Facial pain
- Facial swelling
- Cracked teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
In our Denver dental office, we can usually treat TMJD and bruxism with an occlusal (night) guard. We offer a variety of options depending on your specific needs and diagnosis. An occlusal guard protects your teeth by placing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. We will adjust your night guard to feel completely comfortable for you, and you can wear it while you sleep. That is when most people grind their teeth and the largest amount of damage occurs.
Since your night guard is made of acrylic, it absorbs some of the force of your bite and protects your teeth from touching while you sleep. Your jaws are capable of incredible force, and you can literally break our your own teeth while you sleep.
If you choose not to treat your TMJD symptoms, you could risk more pain, tooth loss, broken teeth, and surgery. A night guard is a cost-effective and efficient treatment for most TMJD cases.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the act of grinding your teeth. While most cases of bruxism occur at night, some patients report clenching or posturing their jaws and teeth during the day. This often happens at times of uncontrolled stress or intense concentration.
Bruxism can make you feel exhausted and can also really take a toll on your teeth. From chips to cracks, the strength of your jaw can do some serious damage. Bruxism has also been identified as a potential cause of TMJD. Just like with TMJD, we can treat bruxism with occlusal guards. The best time to take action is before the full symptoms of TMJD start.
Call For a TMJ Evaluation
Do you think you might have problems with your jaws? Call our Denver, CO dental office, and our highly skilled dentist, Dr. Beth Kreider, can let you know the best plan to protect your teeth and increase your quality of life.