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If you have jaw pain or popping jaw joints, these are just two signs of a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). For some, this discomfort is temporary, while other patients suffer from chronic jaw issues and related oral health problems. At Dental Arts of the Oaks, our dental team will figure out what’s going on with your oral health and determine whether you need TMJ treatment or a customized mouthguard to relieve your pain and dental problems.
Causes of TMJ Problems
The TMJ are small, triangle-shaped joints in front of your ears that join the lower jaw and temporal bone and allow the mouth to open and close. If this movement does not happen easily or without discomfort, it is often because of irritated muscles and nerves surrounding the jaw. As a result, the joint suffers from chronic or acute inflammation, a common side effect of:
- Jaw misalignment
- Teeth grinding
- Clenched teeth
- Cartilage recession
- Bite imbalance
- Missing teeth
A person’s lifestyle can also strain the jaw, with things like chronic stress and poor posture contributing to TMJ problems. Sometimes, though, it’s simply DNA that creates the need for TMJ treatment – not everyone has perfectly aligned temporomandibular joints.
Signs You Need TMJ Treatment
You know when something isn’t right with your oral health, but you might not recognize the cause of it or what kind of help you need to fix the issue. A TMJ problem is known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD) and symptoms can include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw
- Limited jaw mobility
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening the mouth
- Jaw locks in the open position
- Morning headaches
- Ear pain or ringing ears
- Stiff shoulders, neck, and back
Unfortunately, TMD symptoms can mimic other health conditions, like chronic migraines or ear problems, so many people visit their primary care physician instead of their dentist. In cases like this, misdiagnosis occurs and the problem continues, when it could have been quickly and easily remedied with the help of your Thousand Oaks dentist.
Oral health problems are also a sign of TMJ complications, even if you don’t always feel the other symptoms. Issues like enamel erosion, gum recession, damaged dental work, and broken or cracked teeth can all be caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint – and eliminated with proper TMJ treatment.
Mouthguard for TMJ Treatment
There are several types of TMJ treatments, including trigger point injections, cold laser therapy, and electro-therapeutic point stimulation. Often though, the most common and most effective treatment is a customized mouthguard.
This oral appliance, often referred to as a nightguard, is worn during sleep to reduce strain on the jaw joints. Patients who have sleep bruxism and grind and clench their teeth unconsciously find immediate relief once this mouthguard is in place. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and a dental lab will create a personalized guard that snaps into place and protects your teeth all night.
TMJ Treatment at Thousand Oaks Dentist Near Me
When you visit your Thousand Oaks dentist at Dental Arts of the Oaks with complaints about jaw pain or the like, you will undergo a comprehensive dental examination. It’s important for your dentist to evaluate all the symptoms you’re experiencing to determine whether you need TMJ treatment or some other type of alignment correction, like Invisalign.
The goal is to treat you with the most conservative but effective option, so you are no longer in pain and your teeth do not suffer from the side effects of grinding and clenching. There isn’t always just one solution to TMJ problems, and your Thousand Oaks dentist will determine the best treatment to give you relief. Schedule an appointment with our office to get help right away.