Happily providing quality family dental care since 1962
Say Goodbye to TMJ, Teeth Grinding, and Jaw Pain
The temporomandibular joint (also known as the jaw joint) is effectively the hinge that allows you to open and close your jaw. It also allows you to move your lower jaw from side to side so that you can more effectively chew and swallow your food. Unfortunately, it also allows you to grind your teeth as you sleep at night, which can cause a number of problems, including temporomandibular joint disorder (also called TMJ or, more accurately, TMD).
What Is TMD?
TMD is a disorder that causes pain and/or restricted movement in the jaw joint. In severe cases, your jaw may become locked open or shut until you can get the muscles surrounding the joint to relax and allow you to move again. It can also cause an audible clicking in the joint when you chew, speak, or yawn.
Treating TMJ / TMD
We do not know the exact causes of TMJ / TMD, but we do know that it can often be triggered by or exacerbated by grinding or clenching your teeth, stress, or sleep disorders. Knowing that these issues are very closely associated with TMD flare-ups, we can often treat and prevent TMD symptoms by treating their triggers.
When you come to our practice with concerns about TMD, Dr. Smith, Dr. Erlander, or Dr. Thomas will examine your teeth for the wear and tear associated with grinding and clenching. If we notice symptoms of grinding, we will recommend a custom-made mouthguard or a dental splint to correct your bite, relieve pressure on your teeth, and help relax your muscles.
We may also recommend that you undergo a sleep study, as well. As the only dental practice in Colorado Springs with a full overnight sleep lab overseen by a board-certified medical director, we can help you correct your TMJ and other sleep disorders that affect your dental and oral health, as well.
In many cases, stress is a big factor for teeth grinding and clenching. We will be happy to discuss any factors adding to or worsening your TMD, and we will make recommendations for alleviating and treating symptoms. Often, patients who regularly wear their mouthguards or dental splints at night will find that their jaw muscles will tend to relax on their own, and they’ll see their TMD incidents and facial pain disappear entirely after a very short period of time.
Do you experience frequent pain in your jaws or in your ears, especially in the mornings when you’ve just woken up? Do you tend to clench or grind your teeth when you’re stressed out? Has your jaw ever locked open or shut, leaving you unable to speak, eat, or drink for some time? You may have TMD, and we may be able to help you with easy treatments that can relieve your pain.
Learn what five bad habits cause TMJ disorder by reading our blog on TMJ / TMD.